Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest player and inspiration for many. Be it his young fans or fellow teammates, everyone wanted to be like His Airness. However, more often than not, they end up having unexpected encounters. Similarly, Rip Hamilton, who by fate, ended up on the same team as Jordan’s.
The team was not the infamous Chicago Bulls that Jordan was renowned for, but the Washington Wizards. After his first retirement, MJ joined the Wizards during the 2001-02 season. This was the same time, when, Hamilton made his debut in 1999 and got the golden chance to spend one season with his idol. Amidst numerous valuable pieces of advice on how to make it big in the league, he found himself belittled.
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This was when Hamilton asked Jordan if he could join as an athlete for the Jordan brand. Hamilton reminisced on ESPN’s The Jump, “Me and a couple of the young guys would come up to him and say, ‘Hey Mike, what you think about putting us in the [Jordan Brand] collection?’“. To his utter surprise, Jordan not only denied but said, “Hey, Rip – my sneakers for All-Stars”.
This left the Wizards star disappointed but fueled with determination to take revenge and prove his worth. Just four years later, he made his All-Star appearance and said to Jordan, “Hey, M, now I’m an All-Star, now you’ve got to put me in that sneaker and now you’ve got to pay me the big bucks”. Hamilton ended up being an Air Jordan athlete and in 2019 he was able to get his own signature sneakers with Jordan 14 Rip Hamilton PE.
Rip Hamilton revealed what truly impacted the sneaker culture
It is undeniable that Michael Jordan not only revolutionized basketball but also the sneaker culture. While he got on the plane to sign with Nike because of his mother, Deloris Jordan, there is also another aspect to what impacted the sneaker culture. Rip Hamilton in an interview with Complex revealed how MJ used to get real opinions of 20, 21 years old and that had a significant impact on the sneaker culture.
He revealed that Jordan used to make an entrance in the locker room with new samples of Air Jordans and would ask him and his fellow teammates for their opinions. In his own words, “He would come in the locker room every day with a different sample shoe, a sample shirt, or whatever. He would get the response of all the young kids”. He continued, “Because you got to remember, Michael Jordan was a little older at the time. We were 20, 21”.
The one season that Hamilton was with Jordan was undeniably fruitful for him. Even though he was taken aback by Jordan’s refusal. The Wizards star only came back stronger, joined the Air Jordan athlete, and had an impactful career. Over the span of his illustrious 14-year NBA career which ended with him donning a Bulls jersey, he truly left a legacy behind.