Fat Joe on Upcoming Terror Squad Nike Air Force 1s Release

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The game in question was meant to take place on Aug. 14, 2003, at Holcombe Rucker Park in Harlem. Fat Joe and Jay-Z, who were then quiet foes, had assembled opposing teams for a matchup in the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic. The rosters were loaded with NBA talent—Joe’s Terror Squad team included Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony; Jay-Z had a young LeBron James and a secret weapon in Shaquille O’Neal.

As tip-off drew near that evening, a blackout struck New York City, scuttling what would have been a dramatic clash between the biggest forces in hip-hop and basketball. The game was rescheduled for days later, but Jay-Z bailed, giving Joe the win by default.

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Nike used Rucker Park this past weekend to explicitly reference the Blackout Game and trace it to the Terror Squad Air Force 1s. At the final game of the NY vs NY tournament on Saturday, the brand orchestrated an early release of a few hundred pairs of the “Blackout” colorway, which were made available to people in the vicinity via the SNKRS app.

The drop was unannounced, but Fat Joe’s attendance, the announcers’ callouts to his legacy at the park, the abundant TS chains sparkling in the Manhattan night, and the number of crispy black and white Air Force 1s walking the court were clues that something was coming. (Those who were aware of the release didn’t necessarily gain an advantage—this SNKRS user was refreshing the app minutes ahead of the 8 p.m. drop and still struck out, fueling the suspicion that either God or Nike is working against him.)

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The “Blackout” colorway (style code FJ5756-100) will have a wider release on Sept. 15 for $150. While the colorblocking resembles that of the recently ubiquitous “Panda” colorway of the Nike Dunk Low, Joe points out that his came first. Nike made a black and white pair of Terror Squad Air Force 1s for him around 2004.

“They was around way before the Pandas,” says Joe. “They’re called the Blackouts; they not the Pandas.”

Some of the early conversations around bringing his shoes back took place at the Broadway location of Fat Joe’s sneaker boutique, Up NYC. Nike sourced Joe’s pairs from 2002 as a reference in order to more faithfully recreate them. The retros are informed by his personal taste—sky blue is Fat Joe’s favorite color, hence the white and blue “Porpoise” pair (style code FJ5755-100).

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