1992 was all about expansion. Dee’s win got him his own D-Time model as part of the Above The Rim collection, while the Blacktop outdoor basketball range, with pieces like the Battleground maintaining capo status over cheaper Hexalite only designs, would coincide with Nike’s development of similar models like the Raid. Chang’s sophomore Court Victory II model was also strong, gracing the feet of Busta Rhymes during Leaders Of The New School’s ‘difficult second album’ period.
Reebok had fresh plans too. Orlando Magic’s seven-foot-one monster known as Shaquille O’Neal was snapped up and laced with his very own Pump in 1992. The Shaq Attaq was badged with a dunking monogram and saw Shaq groomed as a potential Jordan-scale franchise. The shoe was particularly smooth, softening some of the harder edges of previous Pumps. It helped that Shaq’s larger-than-life approach wasn’t just physical – he dropped his debut hip-hop LP, the first of five albums, the following year. Emmit Smith of the Dallas Cowboys was another endorsement, wearing the Paydirt for training, though Reebok also made the Throwback cleat.
A carbon fibre material called Graphlite was also introduced via the Pump Graphlite –
a serious running shoe endorsed by Portland’s Dan O’ Brien and North Dakota’s Dave Johnson, two arch-rival decathlon stars.
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