Sir Charles in a Straight-Jacket
How do you protect the feet of a 6’6” 250-pound power forward once known as the Round Mound of Rebound? Nike had been working on it since they inked Charles Barkley in 1987, but the 1994 Air Max 2 CB was his first signature shoe. And what a shoe it was. Inspired by the need to protect his feet as he threw his body around, the shoe left behind the sleekness of Jordans for a sturdiness wrapped in straight-jacket-like support straps, reinforced lace-locks and a double “max air” cushion
The design of the Air Max 2 CB reflected both Barkley’s aggressive style of play and bold personality. Barkley didn’t pull punches on or off the court and was vilified for insisting that he and other athletes should not be considered role models. As Tinker Hatfield summarized the success of the shoe, “The outlandishness of Charles’ persona and the beauty of the product married up.”
As the NBA season began, its most famous star was wearing #45 for baseball’s minor league Birmingham Barons. Determined to try a baseball career to honor his late father’s passion, Jordan worked hard in his role as the biggest name on the Double A circuit. Nevertheless, his .202 batting average went along with more errors (11) than homeruns (3).
Jordan changed course on March 18th, 1995, announcing his return with a simple two word fax stating “I’m back.” Even after missing a year and a half, it didn’t take His Airness long to return to top form. In his first trip back to Madison Square Garden, he reminded fans who he was with a 55 point outing. The Bulls made it back into the playoffs (losing to Orlando), but it wouldn’t be until the following year that Jordan would truly remind his opponents what his return meant for the league…
OJ Simpson was arrested for the murder of his former wife and her partner. His subsequent trial was one of the most intensely-watched media events of the decade, and over half the American population tuned in to hear the "not guilty" verdict. Nelson Mandela becomes President of South Africa. Tutsi rebels begin slaughtering ethnic Hutus in Rwanda, leading to the deaths of over 500,000 people in an incredibly bloody genocide. A refugee crisis went unnoticed by most of the world for years. The US invades Haiti, looking to reinstate President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Yahoo is founded in California.