We’re not saying it was the black Nike Air Force 1s, but we’re also not saying it wasn’t the black Nike Air Force 1s. Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks have won the 2021 NBA Championship, coming from a 2-0 deficit to win in six games against the Chris Paul and Devin Booker-led Phoenix Suns.
Antetokounmpo provided an iconic NBA Finals moment when he pulled up to Game 3 wearing all-black Air Force 1s, sending basketball and sneaker Twitter into a frenzy. Triple black Air Force 1s are, of course, famously a meme in the sneaker community, most often associated with an aggressive, criminal energy. Basically, if someone is wearing black Air Force 1s, they’re not fucking around. And neither was Giannis, who ended up averaging 37 points across all six games and winning four games in a row en route to his first NBA Finals MVP and title.
Incredibly, the Greek Freak scored 50 points in the final game — having already become only the second player ever to score 40 and rebound 10 in back-to-back Finals games earlier in the series — going 1/6 from beyond the arc and only missing two of his 19 free-throws. Giannis had previously shot a measly 56 percent from the line, making his free-throw performance in the series-clinching game extra noteworthy.
After the game, the Bucks superstar took a shot at, well, basically every other star in the NBA, when he said: “I could go to a super team and just do my part and win a championship. But this is the hard way to do it, and we did it. We fucking did it.”
The emotionally charged quote references the tendency for big stars to team up with one another (LeBron James in Miami, Cleveland, and Los Angeles, the KD Warriors, as well as the current Brooklyn Nets) and how that is usually frowned upon by fans of the sport. Superstar teams have become such a mainstay that it’s almost expected that one of those teams will end the season as NBA champions. The Milwaukee Bucks (and the Toronto Raptors to a certain extent), however, showed that there is another way and that small-market teams can bring home championships.
All of that helps add to the legend of the black Air Force 1s. Before Giannis decided to rock them ahead of Game 3, they were already notorious in sneaker circles. Now they’ve reached legendary status among hoop fans, too.
If Giannis has got you into the mood for some Air Force 1s, check out our selection of the best AF1s to buy right now.