Player: Gary Payton aka “The Glove”
Year of Release: 1997 (OG), 2015 – as part of the “Class of ‘97 Pack”
Designer: Eric Avar
Release Type: General Release
Weight: 13 ounces
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Though not an official signature shoe, the Nike Air Hawk Flight was designed for Gary Payton and is most closely associated with him. “The Glove” wore the white/pine/black colorway during the 1997 playoffs and the early part of the 1997-1998 season. Payton never wore the black/white/varsity-royal colorway in an NBA game, though he did wear them in a few exhibition games.
A TRANSITIONAL YEAR
1997 was a transitional year for Gary Payton and the Seattle SuperSonics. On court, the Sonics lost Shawn Kemp to the Cleveland Cavaliers, making Payton and newcomer Vin Baker the primary options on offense. The situation with his sneakers changed too. Gone were the days of sporting takedowns like the Air Thrill Flight and the Air Much Uptempo. In its place came a series of flagship models, starting with the Hawk Flight.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Nearly 25 years after its initial release, the Hawk Flight still lives in relative obscurity. Unfortunately, the Hawk Flight released at a time when there was no shortage of Nike and Jordan classics. To make matters worse, the Hawk Flight was immediately followed by another unofficial Payton shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Flight, later renamed the Zoom Flight ‘98 or simply “The Glove” in 1998, which many consider to be Payton’s best shoe.
- Synthetic upper
- Thermoplastic reinforced Phylon support wing
- Forefoot and heel Zoom Air units
- Carbon fiber midfoot support shank
- Optimal motion rubber outsole
- $124.99 in 1997 (about $202 in 2021)
- $385 in 2015 (Class of ‘97 Pack- including the Foamposite Pro)- (about $420 in 2021)
- $140 in 2015/2016 (in other colorways) – (about $153 in 2021)
- Adjusted for inflation, the retros were cheaper than the OG.
The Nike Air Winged Flight released in 1997 as the takedown to the Hawk Flight. Designed for guards and worn by multiple players including Charlie Ward, Chris Childs and Allan Houston, the Winged Flight featured a full grain leather and synthetic upper, internal support wing, Phylon midsole, encapsulated heel Air Sole cushioning unit and thermoplastic midfoot support. The Winged Flight weighed 13 ounces and retailed at $84.99 (about $137 in 2021). The Winged Flight has never been retroed.
Few people have as many unofficial signature shoes as Gary Payton. Shoes like the Hawk Flight, Zoom Flight ‘98, Air Much Uptempo and Thrill Flight have all been linked to “the Glove” and he is often the first player you think of when these sneakers are mentioned. As an aside, the Hawk Flight even made a big screen appearance in the 1998 movie He Got Game. It wouldn’t be until 1999 however that Payton would finally get his first official signature shoe, the Air Zoom GP. What followed were three more official signature shoes, spanning from 1999 until 2002. In 2019, Nike retroed the Zoom GP for its 20th anniversary. While none the others have retroed yet, perhaps there is hope we will one day see them return as well.
Throughout my bball days , this shoe was the best performing. Due to how the zoom air in the forefoot was set in. When standing normally it felt as if your heel sat lower than forefoot. it felt weird at first. until you take the court. when you are on your forefoot 90 % of the time the shoe then feels “in its environment” . it was a “aha” moment for me. it made me more explosive in changing directions, especially in transition from defense to offense. it was a design much appreciated by myself whom played a guard position mainly. Wish they would make more of them .
great insight and totally agree. Did you own both the OGs and the retros? I’d be interested to know how you think they compared if so.
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