Nike Shox BB4, 2000
Sometimes imagination can be tethered by manufacturing limitation. Nike Shox was already a 20-year-old concept at the time of the Nike Shox BB4’s release. The idea was too ahead of the curve, necessitating foam that hadn’t been invented yet. It resurfaced at the tail end of the 1990s, piquing the interest of Eric Avar and the team as a visually expressive technology with a significant performance value. The Nike Shox BB4’s look was informed by its space age concept: a rocket and booster-like appearance was prepped for blastoff and served to amplify the explosive potential of the columns. With the creative team at mission control researching astronaut uniforms, the upper was designed for intergalactic exploration too. Showcased in Sydney that summer, Vince Carter’s iconic dunk of death over a seven-footer while wearing a pair secured his legendary status and drove home the power of the Nike Shox system. Off he went into the stadium atmosphere and we had liftoff. You can’t synthesize that kind of moment, but maybe, just maybe, those columns gave him the confidence to pull off the ultimate “posterized” dunk.