It looks like the Nike Shox BB4, after almost as many false starts as Vince Carter has NBA seasons under his belt, is making a comeback for the legend’s last rodeo.
Come and sit, young Gen Zers of NBA Twitter, and let grandpa tell you the tale of the greatest dunk of all time. It was September 2000, the Sydney Olympics. During a meaningless preliminary round matchup between the USA and France, Vince Carter—in a show of sheer will and utter audacity, or maybe just out of boredom—decided to jump over 7’2” center Frédéric Weis. That’s no misprint, kids. Here’s the video evidence:
The French media dubbed it le dunk de la mort, “the dunk of death.” As far as Weis’s career was concerned, it lived up to its name—the Knicks draftee (natch) never played an NBA game. Vince, on the other hand, was already the hottest young star in the game (thanks, in part, to his GOAT-level dunk contest performance earlier that year), and the Olympic dunk sent him into an entirely new stratosphere of notoriety and marketability. Making that meteoric rise alongside him? The then-newly released sneakers on his feet: the Nike Shox BB4.
At the time, Nike had just introduced the Shox technology as a kind of successor to their legendary Air cushioning. Thanks to a brilliant tagline (“Boing.”) and a seriously misleading ad campaign, kids like me were led to believe that Shox would be springy and bouncy and add inches to their vertical—when, in reality, they were solid columns of hard, unforgiving plastic and were pretty terrible to hoop in. But, with Vinsanity as its face and the flashy, futuristic BB4 as its centerpiece, Shox nevertheless became the must-have sneaker line of the era.
The season that immediately followed le dunk de la mort was probably the most consequential of Vince’s high-flying, still-going (!) NBA career: he averaged a career-high 27.6 points in 2000-01—good enough to make the All-NBA Second Team—and led the Raptors to their first-ever playoff series victory, before falling to Allen Iverson and the Sixers in an all-time great seven-game duel. And, of course, he did it all in Shox BB4s.