Radiant in red and sporting the number 33 in crisp white stitching, Scottie Pippen’s player edition of the Air Maestro II stands as one of the rarest sneakers in Nike’s Department of Archives. The bold shoe recalls Pippen’s dominant days in the league, when he led the Bulls after MJ’s abrupt departure from the team to pursue a career in baseball. Many recall the 1994 All-Star game, when Pippen laced up his now-iconic red Air Maestro II and won MVP, as the moment the Chicago legend cemented his status as a leader equipped to help drive the team to another title.
Although not the exact colorway he was wearing, Nike, Inc. now honors #33 with a nod to his dominating performance in Game 2 of the 1993 Finals while wearing the Air Maestro II. In that game, while wearing the icon in a black/white colorway, Pippen became just the 12th player in history to log a triple-double in a Finals game. Capping his night by blocking a potential game-tying three, he gave the Bulls a 2-0 lead in the series, which they would go on to win. In the wake of Jordan’s retirement after that series, Pippen’s Finals performance signified to Chicago his ability to shine on his own in the spotlight and lead the Bulls by himself.
Pippen’s pair of the Air Maestro II sports supple red nubuck and leather with bold black accents, and its craftsmanship and detail directly inspire the 2018 version of the hardwood favorite. Today, the sneaker continues to turn heads off the court the same way it did when it first hit the floor on the small forward’s feet in the ‘90s.