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The History Of The Nike Air Pippen 5

The Nike Air Pippen 5 would be released in 2001. It would be the final shoe in the Pippen line, until it was resurrected briefly after PIPs retirement from the game. Learn more about the Five below.

The Five

When the 5 launched, Scottie Pippen was in the middle of his stint with the Portland Trailblazers. The 5 tried to do something really bold when it came to basketball sneaker technology. The 5 had an interchangeable bootie which allowed the wearer to choose different colorways. Theoretically you could switch out the shell of the shoe and practically have a brand new sneaker in seconds. Gary Payton and Jason Kidd would receive similar shoes via the “Morph Series” from Nike. It was a bold idea, but sadly the tech wasn’t perfected, and the shoe offered little breathability and was overly bulky. The 5 had a visible Air Sole unit in the heel.

 Air Pippen 5

Walk On

Scottie Pippen received very little hype and interest during his amateur years as a basketball player. He was a walk on at the University of Central Arkansas. Pippen quickly became one of the best players in college basketball. Pippen was born in Arkansas, and he was one of 12 children. Being from a small town, and coming from a large family, it was easy for Pippen to be overlooked. But eventually Pippen’s talent was too impressive to continue to overlook. He was selected as the fifth pick in the 1987 draft by the Chicago Bulls.

One of the Best

Scottie Pippen is a member of the Hall of Fame and was named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players. He is easily one of the top defensive players of all time. Scottie Pippen is often ignored when the all-time greats are discussed, but Pippen is one of the best to ever play the game.

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About Phil Knight

Phil Knight is the co-founder of Nike. Knight was the President of Nike from 1968 to 1990. He would return as President from 2000-2004. Before getting involved with Nike, Knight was a certified public accountant and a Professor of Business Administration.

About Bill Bowerman

Bill Bowerman is one of the most renowned track coaches of all time. Bowerman coached Phil Knight when he was a runner at the University of Oregon. Bowerman was a coach at Oregon for 24 years. He helped to develop some of the greatest runners of all time, like Steve Prefontaine.

The Knight & Bowerman Team

Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight both had an interest in approving the footwear that was available for athletes. In the early 1970s, Bowerman developed the waffle outsole. The waffle outsole was an experiment by Bowerman that had him pouring rubber compound into his wife’s waffle iron. The duo wanted to offer athletic shoes with more traction and that were lighter. The waffle soles and the great marketing of Nike helped to establish them as a leading athletic shoemaker very quickly.


Michael Jordan signed an endorsement contract with Nike for $2.5 million his rookie year. That looks like clearance aisle pricing today, but at the time many felt MJ, an unproven newcomer, did not deserve a contract that large. The Air Jordan 1 was designed by Peter Moore and was released in 1985. Nike was dedicated to giving Michael Jordan his own brand to grow with. Nike’s belief in MJ as an athlete and pitchman paid off bigger and better than anyone could have ever imagined. Michael Jordan and his Air Jordan sneakers helped to make Nike a household name and gave them the ability to create Jordan Brand.


- Adam C. Better