Player: Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway
Designer: Eric Avar
Year of Release: 1995 (OG); 2012 (retro)
Release Type: General Release
Weight: 12.9 ounces
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Released in 1995, the Air Flight One was Penny Hardaway’s unofficial signature shoe which he wore during the latter portion of the 1994-1995 NBA season and the ‘95 playoffs. He would wear the white/black/royal colorway for home games during the ‘95 playoffs.
1994-1995: A BREAKOUT SEASON
The ‘94-’95 season, Penny’s second in the NBA, was a breakout year for the Orlando Magic guard. After a stellar rookie season, Penny would return with a vengeance averaging 20.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game and establishing himself as a legitimate star in the NBA. Nike took notice and issued his first unofficial signature shoe: the Air Flight One.
After spending the early part of the season in classics like the Air Lambaste and Air Go LWP and PEs like the Air Up, the Air Flight One finally allowed Penny to put his imprimatur on the sneaker world. After all, it’s no coincidence that one happened to be Penny’s jersey number.
A SHOE OF “FIRSTS” AND “LASTS”
The Air Flight One was part of several “firsts”:
- Penny’s first unofficial signature shoe;
- Orlando Magic’s first playoff victory (against the Boston Celtics, 124-77 in Game 1 of the First Round of the NBA Playoffs, April 28, 1995);
- Magic’s first playoff series victory (eliminating the Celtics 3-1 in the First Round of the Playoffs, May 5, 1995);
- Magic are the first and only team to beat the Championship era Bulls in a playoff series (defeating the Chicago Bulls 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, May 18, 1995- Penny wore the black colorway during that final game);
- The first shoe from another player that Michael Jordan wore during an NBA game (game 3 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals, MJ wore the black Air Flight One which is the subject of a future article);
- Magic’s first NBA Finals appearance (vs the Houston Rockets, June 7, 1995).
And a few “lasts”:
- The last game ever played in the old Boston Garden (when the Magic eliminated the Boston Celtics in the First Round of the playoffs, May 5, 1995- Penny wore the black colorway during that game);
- The last shoe Penny wore before the debut of his first official signature shoe, the Air Max Penny, which was released during the ‘95-’96 season.
- Full-grain leather upper
- High-density Phylon ankle support pads
- Quick lace system
- Jeweled “1” on heel pull tab
- Large volume encapsulated heel Air Sole unit
- Tensile Air (now known as Zoom Air) unit in the forefoot
- Solid rubber outsole
- $109.99 in 1995 (about $187 in 2021)
- $120 in 2012 (about $135 in 2021)
- Adjusted for inflation, the 2012 retro was significantly cheaper than the OG
While the Magic were swept out of the ‘95 NBA Finals by the more experienced Houston Rockets, the league was on notice that Penny Hardaway was a legitimate superstar. During games 1 and 2 of the Finals, in which he wore the white/black/royal Air Flight One, Penny contributed 26 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 32 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists respectively. He would end the series leading all players in assists and finishing second behind Shaq in points per game at 25.5. His performance during the 1995 playoffs in the Air Flight One would provide the perfect launch point for Penny’s new signature line.
The Nike Air Point released in 1995. A takedown of the Air Flight One, the Point featured a full grain leather and Durabuck mid-cut upper, encapsulated large volume heel Air Sole unit, lightweight Phylon midsole and a solid rubber outsole with herringbone traction pattern. The Point weighed 13.7 ounces and retailed at $69.99 (about $119 in 2021). The Point has never been retroed.