Player: Kevin Garnett
Colorway: white/midnight navy/blue-gaze
Original Release: 2000
Release Type: General release
Weight: 16.5 ounces
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The end of an era…
The Flightposite 2 released in 2000 as the sequel to the innovative Flightposite 1 from a year earlier. Also known as the Flightposite KG, the 2 was Kevin Garnett’s official signature shoe. By the time the 2 released, Garnett was already associated with the Flightposite line having been the ambassador for the Flightposite 1.
Chronologically, the Flightposite 2 did not directly follow the Flightposite 1, instead releasing after the Garnett 3 which debuted in late 1999. Garnett also didn’t wear the Flightposite 2 for long as he would sign with And1 in November 2000 and begin wearing And1s in December. In fact, his most memorable moments in the Flightposite 2 came during the 2000 Summer Olympics where he helped Team USA win the gold medal in Sydney.
2000 SUMMER OLYMPICS
The 2000 Summer Olympics marked the third consecutive time that NBA players were allowed to compete in the Olympic games. While Team USA went 9-0 en route to a gold medal, those victories were less convincing than in previous years. The ‘92 team for example, defeated opponents by an average of nearly 44 points while the ‘96 team did so by 32 points. By 2000, that margin had narrowed to just 22 points, half of what the ‘92 team had won by. Clearly the international competition was improving, evidenced by the 9 and 2 point victories that the 2000 team produced against Lithuania.
Nevertheless, the 2000 team was able to win with a balanced offensive attack, with all players averaging between 5.5 and 14.8 points per game. Garnett led the team in rebounds at 9.1 per game and was the second leading scorer, behind Vince Carter, averaging 10.8 points.
YAO MING AND “THE DUNK OF DEATH”
The 2000 team was ambitious. The fact that they underwhelmed when compared to their predecessors didn’t stop them from achieving individual feats of glory, like when Carter jumped over 7’2” Frenchman Frederic Weis in what is now known as “The Dunk of Death”. It also didn’t stop them from setting lofty goals.
Nearly two decades after the 2000 Olympics, Garnett told media outlets that Team USA had placed a $1 million dollar bounty out on China’s Yao Ming. Still two years away from being drafted by the Houston Rockets, the 7’6” Yao was the tallest player in the Olympics and the members of Team USA decided that the first player to successfully dunk on him would win the $1 million prize. Fortunately for Yao, no one was able to claim the reward though Vince Carter came closest with a tip-in dunk that was more in front of Yao than over him. Otherwise, Yao either blocked or altered any attempts to dunk on him by Team USA.
If you spent time watching Team USA during the 2000 Olympics, you would’ve caught a glimpse of Garnett’s sneakers: the Flightposite 2. Whether it was seeing KG in the background during “The Dunk of Death” or footage of him dominating one-on-one drills during practice, the Flightposite 2 was ever present.
Though Garnett wore three different Flightposite 2 colorways during the Olympics, he spent the most time in a player exclusive (PE) version of the white/midnight navy/blue-gaze colorway. Originally released in 2000, the white/midnight navy/blue-gaze colorway retroed in 2019. Overall, Nike did well with the retros though they deviated from the OGs in some noticeable ways.
The biggest difference between the OGs and the retros was the outsole. On the 2019 retro, the entire outsole was navy blue, whereas on the OG, only the heel and midfoot were navy while the forefoot was white. The retro also left all Garnett branding off of the shoe, as KG is no longer affiliated with Nike.
While in most cases, the OG better resembles the version that the player wore on court, the blue-gaze Flightposite 2 is unique in that the retro, with the all navy outsole, was closer in appearance to the version that KG wore on court. In other words, the OG deviated more from KG’s PE pair than the retros did!
GARNETT LEAVES NIKE
The Flightposite 2 plays a significant role in Garnett’s sneaker history despite its brief time in the limelight because it was the last sneaker he wore during his time with Nike. In fact, Garnett’s run with the Swoosh is often the topic of “what if he never left” discussions. And while we will never be able to answer the “what ifs”, we can at least attempt to explain what most sneakerheads deem unexplainable: why did KG leave Nike?
The generally accepted answer was because of Nike’s unwillingness to sponsor Garnett’s Official Block Family (OBF) apparel line. With a name inspired by his close friends growing up on Beachwood Drive in Mauldin, South Carolina, OBF was Garnett’s fledgling apparel brand. Garnett wanted Nike’s support in promoting OBF and when they refused, he left for And 1. Ironically, OBF never took off under And 1 either. Furthermore, Garnett was not a fan of what was going to be his next signature shoe: the Garnett 4. That is because 4 employed Shox technology and appeared clunky.
Nevertheless, Garnett’s departure meant that Nike was forced to remove any Garnett branding from the Flightposite 2. Subsequent releases of the Flightposite 2, including the retros, no longer featured Garnett’s name, replacing it either with the word “Flightposite”, the Alpha Project five-dot logo, or by simply leaving the area blank.
Fortunately for Nike, losing Garnett did not affect the 2’s popularity. In fact, the 2 may have been the most common of the Flightposite line to be worn on court, releasing in numerous colorways and worn throughout the NBA and NCAA. One can only guess how popular the Flightposite 2 would have been had Garnett stayed with Nike. Guess we’ll never know.
The Flightposite 2 weighed 16.5 ounces, the same as the Flightposite 1, which is surprising considering the 2 was significantly bulkier in appearance. Even more surprising is that the 2’s build deviated from designer Eric Avar’s original vision that the Flightposite create a “seamless extension of your body”. Nevertheless, the Flightposite 2 was still a strong performer on court, save for the occasional slippage of the front zipper which wasn’t a problem in the Flightposite 1.
Like its predecessor, the Flightposite 2 was a member of the Nike Alpha Project. The Team Bank colorways and pairs produced after Garnett’s departure from Nike featured the signature five dot Alpha Project logo, instead of Garnett’s name, on the side.
The 2 also featured a hyper thin, 2mm, fully integrated Foamposite upper, external forefoot shroud, zipper and Dynamic-Fit Lycra full length inner sleeve. The 2 was well cushioned, with forefoot and heel Zoom Air units encapsulated by a solid rubber outsole. The outsole was equipped with forefoot flex grooves for mobility and traction.
The white/midnight navy/blue-gaze Flightposite 2 retro retailed for $200 in 2019 as compared to the OG which retailed at $159.99 in 2000 (about $239 in 2020 dollars). This means that the Flightposite 2 has gotten cheaper over time. Who said inflation is a bad thing…