Release Date: Jan 15, 2021 at 10:00 AM EST
Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Nike’s marketing team was head and shoulders above the competition, especially when it came to its basketball division. One after another, the brand cranked out ingenious commercials that captivated the minds of impressionable viewers – from the iconic Mars Blackmon campaign, to the time Charles Barkley went toe-to-toe with Godzilla.
Things began to change at the start of the new millennium, however. As the former NBA All-Stars that had helped shape the image of Nike Basketball began to depart, fans were left wondering what the future of the hoops division would look like. Luckily, they wouldn’t have to wait long to find out.
In 2002, Nike released a commercial centered around the Roswell Rayguns, a fictional ABA basketball team from the 1970s. The New Mexico–based squad stunk – boasting an abysmal 5-79 record the season prior to the start of the video. But, through a few key off-season acquisitions via a dash of time travel, that all changed. The campaign highlighted future NBA greats Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Baron Davis, and Jermaine O’Neal in playful ‘70s fashion. Their shorts were short, their coats were furry, and the team was funky as hell.
This month, Nike is set to release a capsule inspired by the fictional team, dubbed the “Roswell Rayguns” collection. It includes team-centric colorways of the Nike Air Force 1, Nike Air Raid, Converse Pro Leather High, and Converse Chuck Taylor 70 High.
Of the sneakers in the collection, the Air Force 1 “Rayguns” is perhaps the most exemplary due to its appearance – taking direct cues from the highly coveted Nike SB Dunk Low “Raygun” (Away) from 2005. The upper is done in smooth white leather, with “Orange Flash” textile paneling overtaking the heels. The heels are also home to embroidered “Rayguns” basketball emblems on the lateral sides, as well as “Amarillo” heel tabs with Nike Air branding. Side panels feature black and “Amarillo” Swooshes, which have basketball jersey–inspired contrast stitching.
Rounding out the design are white-rubber midsoles atop black-rubber outsoles. In a final homage to everyone’s favorite time-traveling basketball team, the left insole features “Rayguns” lettering in “Amarillo.” The “Roswell Rayguns” collection is scheduled to release January 15th on JimmyJazz.com – mark your calendars.