The brainchild of Nike super-designer Tinker Hatfield, the Air Max 90 was never meant to be used as a basketball sneaker. But don’t tell that to Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha.
Sefolosha took to the running shoe when he came from back from a broken leg suffered during a scuffle with the NYPD. For the past two seasons, he’s hooped exclusively in the Air Max 90 and he is currently the only guy in the League to play in a running shoe.
Back when the sneaker first released in 1990, it was called the Air Max III, continuing Tinker’s line from the Air Max I and the Air Max Light. With the Air Max 90, Hatfield wanted to show how thick he could make Nike’s signature Air unit and because it had to perform for athletes, he made the upper sleek and light with the use of breathable mesh. The Air Max line was originally meant to help runners reach their ultimate potential—something Tinker was invested in since he was a track and field star at the University of Oregon. Plans changed when sneakerheads started rocking them and now the Swoosh releases Air Maxes to be worn off the track, but they never meant for the famed silhouette to hit the hardwood.
Scroll through the gallery above to see what Sefolosha was rocking during the season. Happy 33rd, Thabo!
Photos courtesy of Getty Images