2. Penny Hardaway
An amazing player who put Memphis hoops on the map, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was a star who was destined for greatness in the NBA. From the Air Max Penny I, II, III, and the Air Flight One, the Foamposite One was the game changer in the entire Penny line.
An interesting story in the Penny signature series was how the first blue Foamposites worn by Mike Bibby and now Memphis coach Josh Pastner in the National Championship Game in 1997 came about. I drove out to Indianapolis for the Final Four and it was a great road trip with my two younger brothers in tow. There was an employee holding a blue shoe in front of a sneaker store, something that made the three of us run as fast as we could to see what this “THING” was. It was April and I asked if the shoe was for sale? He said yes! I asked what they were called and how much and they said it’s the Penny shoe coming out in the fall and Nike wanted to see how they would sell. They started explaining the technology in the shoe and my two younger brothers asked me if they could have them?
Being on a college student’s budget, I asked how much. They were $180 before tax and the store had 18 pairs up to a size 13. I asked how many pairs have been sold? The number was two pairs by two guys from Arizona.
I’m a 13; my two brothers were a 9. I bought two pairs in a size 9 and they were holding it down ever since that moment.
9 of 10
1. Michael Jordan
It should come as no surprise that the man that changed an entire industry is featured at No. 1. From the now popular Air Jordan I to the iconic Air Jordan XI in high or low, Michael Jordan’s shoe line can have a top 100 list all to itself. It’s tough to go up against the greatest basketball player to ever play the game. I love the XI, and many of the player editions worn by the original Jordan Team members like Ray Allen, Vin Baker, Derek Anderson, and Eddie Jones. You can’t go wrong with any of these amazing silhouettes: the Air Jordan III, IV, V, VI, VII, X, XI, XII, XIII or XIV.
I remember buying my first pair of Air Jordans at a mall in Yonkers, New York. As I walked in, there were three colorways: all-white and grey, black and red, and the white red and black with the matching top and shorts. I was never able to find the Flight pants that are pictured on the Air Jordan I hang tag, but I was hooked and to this day, I thank Nike and Air Jordan for giving me a lifestyle that I still enjoy. If it wasn’t for the Air Jordan I and Michael’s mother telling to sign with Nike and not Converse, the sneaker culture might not be what it is today. Thanks Mama Jordan!
10 of 10
When creating a top 10 sneaker signature line list, there will be some lines that end up on the outside looking in. Over the past 50 years we’ve had athletes who have taken the sneaker game to new heights. If this were a top 100 list, everyone would be happy.
Some shoes that didn’t make the top 10, unfortunately, are Grant Hill‘s Fila line. If only he had played a few more years injury-free. Nike‘s Kay Yow line is an inspirational lineup but probably not good enough to be on this list. How about Rasheed Wallace putting his signature on a classic that was created in the early ’80s in the Air Force 1? Tracy McGrady‘s adidas line was on fire and was a must-cop for about three years. Jason Kidd wore some classic shoes like the Zoom 95 and his own Zoom Flight 5, but even though both of those shoes were worthy of the unofficial “Sneaker Hall of Fame,” Kidd couldn’t keep it up. Another player who falls into that category has to be Gary Payton and his Glove line, iconic shoes which re-released last year. Shaquille O’Neal‘s Reebok signature line started off strong with his first two shoes but as is the case with many big men in the NBA, his line fizzled out into obscurity and he was forced to wear Starter shoes and then his own Shaq brand before he retired. Deion Sanders‘ Nike signature line was a great mix and gelled well with his persona and two-star sport status. In the end, though, Primetime couldn’t quite crack this top 10.
You will also see no skateboard signature shoes here.
In the end, if you make it onto this list, it’s because you pumped out classic after classic for years and years and years. Here is The Definitive Ranking of the Best Signature Sneaker Lines.
Follow Miguel on Twitter at @thenational
image via Nike