In the new Footlocker commercial with Shaq and rapper Tyga, the 5’8″ rapper and the 7”1″ ex rapper/baller have communication problems because of their height difference. Tyga compliments Shaq’s Reebok sneakers the “Shaqnosis” and Shaq responds that they were made before Tyga was born. Actually, Tyga was 6 years old when Reebok created the Shaqnosis sneakers back in 1995.
The Shaqnosis was the follow-up to Shaq’s Attack line and one of many cool products Reebok was putting out in the mid 90s including Shawn Kemp’s Kamikaze (left) and Glen Robinson’s The Rail. Like most things that are different, the initial response to the hypnotic sneakers were not that positive and local team commentators took their shots at the shoe when the visiting Orlando Magic came into town. The commentators for the 1996 All-Star game and Dream Team 3 games even had their share of jokes but it was Shaq laughing all the way to the bank (in LA) back then and today as the Shaqnosis sneakers returns to malls, foot lockers and sneaker shops.
Shaq once said while he was with the Lakers that he has never spent a penny of his NBA contract money because he’s made so much off endorsements, business deals and other ventures. If that was true 10 years ago and I’m sure it’s even more true now as the entrepreneur and TV analyst has as many commercials and tv appearances at age 41 as he did when he was 23 putting the Shaqnosis on his size 22 feet for the first time.
The release of the shoe also comes on the same day as the release of his new film with Adam Sandler “Grown Ups 2.” This is Shaq’s first major film appearance since his 90’s Reebok days when he appeared in the mediocre “Blue Chips” and the very Razzie worthy “Kazaam” and “Steel.” Lucky for us, Shaq doesn’t have the lead role in “Grown Ups 2.” The real life US Deputy Marshal Shaq plays supporting character Officer Fluzzo who was a high school classmate to the other original Grown Ups characters. Due to the film’s heavy promotional tour, it has allowed Shaq to get a lot of airtime and promo opportunities for the Shaqnosis sneakers as he does multiple appearances, press interviews and premiers wearing the retro sneakers.
Earlier this week, Shaq also wore the sneakers, along with a Supreme hat and a t-shirt showing 2pac wearing an Orlando Magic Shaq jersey, to Harlem at a recent EBC Rucker Park event where players and half time performer Vinny Cha$e performed while wearing the Shaqnosis shoe.
Vinny Chase wasn’t the only musician spotted recently with the Shaqnosis. This past weekend, Chris Brown and his dancers performed at the 2013 BET Awards all wearing the Shaqnosis. Like Tyga, the 24 year old Brown probably doesn’t remember seeing the Shaqnosis on the NBA court and above the head of defenders as Shaq did his trademark hanging on the rim post dunk celebrations.
One of the most celebrated and memorable dunks in Shaq’s career came during the 1996 NBA All-Star game in Shaq’s hometown of San Antonio. Back then, the MVP of the All-Star game was decided at the end of the 3rd quarter so Michael Jordan was already selected as the MVP for the East team but in the 4th quarter, Shaq took over and put an exclamation point near the end of the game with a nasty dunk over the San Antonio Spurs’ David Robinson followed by an Omega Psi Phi salute to his frat brother Michael Jordan. There was a little controversy an many thought Shaq deserved the MVP award but it’s an All-Star game so who really cares..plus it went to Michael so who is really going to complain. As for the dunk, it was one of the best dunks and posters of the decade and also made a nice poster for Reebok as his Shaqnosis shoes were clearly seen in pics and played over and over again on Sportscenter.
As we reflect and celebrate the Shaqnosis sneaker and the good times of the mid 90s when Biggie, Nas, Wu-Tang members, 2pac and many other underrated rappers appearing on BET’s Rap City were putting out great hip hop music and the film industry was being shook by the influence of young new filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, let’s also give credit to the creator of the Shaqnosis design – Jonathan Morris. Here’s an excerpt from an interview Morris recently did with Sole Collector to discuss the birth of the shoe and it’s design.
I had this fairly typical wavy pattern, with ellipses, and this was back in ’94. Because the technology was happening in the footbed, I had this kind of oval shape right in between the midsole and upper at the midfoot. The design didn’t really go over too well. [laughs] My friend Steven said, “Come on, lets push it.” I said, “Ok,” and I was really thinking about cushioning, expansion and a ripple effect, like when you throw a rock in a pond and then the water all expands around it. That gave me the idea of this cushioning system expanding and these concentric rings, and I did a sketch around that. That was my idea, and I just colored it in black and white. Maximum contrast is what they always tell you to do in art school. [laughs] Maximum contrast will get the attention of the viewer.
So it was black and white, and we had a meeting in design with different designers, product marketing people and Paul Fireman, the CEO. Paul was pretty involved with the process, and when they showed him the sketch for this cushioning concept update, his eyes got real big. He said, “Well, can we make a shoe like that?” I said, “Sure we can.” He said, “What we should do is, we should make that the Shaq shoe, and E. Scott’s shoe that he’s working on for Shaq, we’ll make that the NFL shoe for Emmitt Smith.” E. and I looked at each other right away, and we had a huge mutual respect and I just said, “Well geez, I don’t want to take a project from you.” [laughs] He was really happy though, ’cause he loves football too. I was really excited because all of a sudden I was designing a shoe for Shaq, and everyone loves Shaq because he’s really a good guy. So we just looked at each other and both smiled, and I took that sketch and the only change I made was I put the Dunkman logo on the back and then I designed the bottom.
On seeing the shoe on-court for the fist time
With the Shaqnosis, someone at Reebok had actually given me a tape that was a collection of the Shaqnosis on the court during games and also snippets of newscasters talking about it. There was a newscaster talking about it at the San Antonio All-Star game in 1996, and they were actually walking across the court while wearing Shaq’s size 22. I remember they were just laughing about it like it was a clown shoe. When you think about some of the classic shoes at Reebok, like the Pump Fury, and other memorable designs like the Nike Air Force 1 – which I’m not comparing my shoes to [laughs] – I’m just saying that when you have a really strong, iconic design, it doesn’t happen a lot and to be apart of it is very cool. It’s definitely cool to see it on TV. I remember seeing it a couple times on TV and thinking, “That shoe looks HUGE on him.”
When Shaq appeared on a full episode of MTV Cribs a few years ago, he walked into his closet and pulled out a Shaqnosis sneaker and said “These are my favorites” and it made me want to buy some that day. Here we are on July 12th of 2013 and guess what…those favorites of many are available right now so after you finish watching some cool videos and checking out the Shaqnosis gallery below, head on over to your favorite sneaker store and pick up a pair.