Originally published in KICKS 5, 2002…

Sneaker Pimp: When you have pairs of shoes that number in the hundreds-as I do-and you wear a different pair virtually every day-as I do-the question eventually comes up: Do you have a favorite pair? (Actually, the question has surprisingly never come up, but I figured it would be fun to answer it anyway.)

As Michael Jordan once told me*, his favorite pair of Jordans were always whatever the latest ones were, as well as the first ones. And that’s generally how it is for me, too-my first pair, and the newest acquisitions, always share a special place in my heart. Or at least on my feet.

This is what makes the pair pictured on this page so cool: they’re both. A pair of 1984 Nike Air Ships, they’re one of the most recent additions to my collection (thank you, eBay). They’re not much to look at-just a nondescript pair of Nike Air high tops, cousins to the infamous Air Force 1, marginally known only because MJ wore them as a rookie before the first Air Jordans came out. But they’re also the same model as the first pair of real basketball sneakers I ever owned, way back in eighth grade. Somewhere in one of my parents’ photo albums there’s a picture of me in Boston on a family vacation-just a gawky kid standing on a cobblestone street in a white shirt, jeans, and a gleaming white pair of high tops. That original pair is long gone, but pulling this pair out of the box made me remember what it was like to get them (Marshall’s, $34.99).

And that’s the feel that this magazine is going for. Whether you get new kicks once a year, or tear more tags than Darius and Q (page 70), that new shoes feeling is what we want you to have with every turn of the page.

Whether it’s seeing that early shot of the Fab Five (page 38), checking out AI’s new joints (page 124) or just seeing the auctions you missed on eBay (page 26), we want you to love it.

And oh yes, it is the shoes.


Russ Bengtson

*I’ve always wanted to write that.

KICKS 5 Darius and Q