Air Max 90s are considered a staple in the streetwear circuit – but Thabo Sefolosha played NBA games in them.
Any sneakerhead worth their salt would have one air max in their collection. Most of them would gravitate towards the Air Max 90. It is a mid-cut 90s inspired running shoe, that looks great and provides versatility. While those are great for light athletic activity, one man decided these would be his perfect partner to play NBA games in.
Thabo Sefolosha, the Swiss guard who retired almost a year ago to the date did not start his career in these iconic Nike trainers. Like everybody else, he was wearing performance basketball sneakers, until one night in 2014 changed everything. Sefolosha got into an altercation with the NYPD while he was protecting another player who had gotten stabbed.
The scuffle left him with a season-ending tibia injury, and multiple ligaments were damaged too. The road to recovery was long and arduous, but he did not give up. He surprised everyone at Nike by picking the runner as his go-to shoe. “Oh, you like these?” was their reaction at the headquarters, and he stuck with that model ever since.
Thabo Sefolosha by no means is a superstar – he knew he wasn’t getting a sneaker deal, so he made his unique mark with the Air Max 90s.
Though the vet with South African heritage was in contract with Nike, he wasn’t a big star to earn himself a player exclusive deal. The injury came as a blessing in disguise for him, making him stand out from the rest of the crowd. He was making NikeID pairs on the daily, getting himself some cool colorways.
While contracted with Utah Jazz, Sefolosha completed his 10th anniversary with the sports equipment manufacturer. To honor the achievement, they gifted him two pairs of custom PEs – one to honor his South African heritage and family, the other representing his city jersey colors.
Many players have worn crazy sneakers on the court. P.J. Tucker is the King of on-court heat, wearing $7000 Yeezys on time. The others too manage to pull out an eye-catcher from time to time. But Not Thabo. He just wanted to have to most comfort possible, while wearing something that was super-functional as well. He was the Tim Duncan of the court with his shoes – functional and none too flashy.
March 26 is Air Max day for the sneaker community, but it is Air Max day every day for Thabo Sefolosha.