It’s 1995. Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The emerging Orlando Magic, led by Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway visited the Chicago Bulls with the series tied at one game apiece. That’s when something historic went down, a once-in-a-lifetime event, a scenario many would have never expected or predicted.
The great Michael Jordan, for the first and only time in his NBA career, wore a Player Exclusive shoe that wasn’t his in a game – Hardaway’s NIKE Air Flight Ones.
“For him to wear my shoes, I was tripping,” Hardaway shared with hosts Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson on #NBAHooperVision.
The Nike Air Flight One was a sneaker worn by the 6-foot-8 point guard in his first two seasons in the league before he transitioned to the Nike Air Penny signature line.
According to reports, Jordan was fined $5000 by the NBA for wearing the white colorway of his Concord 11s because it violated the league’s uniform guidelines.
Not having a black colorway of the 11s ready to go for Game 3, the Bulls legend borrowed a pair from Hardaway’s collection. Given his competitive fire, he removed the custom “1 Cent” on the heel of each shoe which would surprise nobody.
In those sneakers, Jordan exploded for a series-high 40 points although the Magic came away with the 110-101 victory.
As he entered the league, Hardaway was touted as the next best superstar but things didn’t pan out as injuries derailed his career and yet he was an inspiration to many like Tracy McGrady and Crawford himself.
He wasn’t the first tall point guard in the league but he was certainly one of the smoothest shooting tall point guards that had taken an NBA floor.
On NBAHooperVision, paying his respects to the ones that came before him, he also shared his inspirations.
NBAHooperVision is a new stream available on NBA League Pass hosted by Crawford and Richardson. Apart from providing their own commentary and analysis, they also welcome former greats of the game as guests.