On the day of his birthday, we decided to look at one of Yao Ming’s last and most popular models with Reebok, the Omni Pump Hexride. Before Reebok Classics decided to go all in with the its retro offerings the brand still trying out new technology for the hardwood. Before the Zig phase they spotted the perfect time to unleash this upgraded Pump model to the world with their new cushioning added, Hexalite. With the 2008 Summer Olympics being held in Beijing, the opportunity was prime to put these on the feet of Yao in front of the entire planet. Not only would he stand out because he was the tallest member on his team, and pretty much every team, but he would be the only one wearing Reebok as the Chinese National team was sponsored by Nike.
Reebok Omni Pump Hexride uploaded by Moseley
From the name of the model, even the novice sneakerholic could guess that the starting point was the Pump Omni Lite. A little ironic as the model is well-known as being worn by small man, big dunker Dee Brown. The Omni Lite influence is most notable with the addition of the caged side panels and overall silhouette. The re-engineered Pump system is seen on the tongue however the most striking feature is down low where the new addition of Hexalite cushioning was added.
Reebok Omni Pump Hexride uploaded by Bobbito Garcia
For Yao Ming, Reebok created 2008 special pairs that released on August 8th, 2008 (8/8/8), the start of the Summer Olympics. Each pair was individually numbered. The special edition model featured the colors of China, Yao’s numbers and zodiac symbol along with an intricate dragon design. (We still need this gem to be added to the wiki.)
Reebok and Yao Ming had a shortened but good partnership over his career. Without injuries many believe he would have been one of the top 5 centers to play in the NBA. But the 2008 Olympics was the start of his swan song to the end of the career, with the Pump Omni Hexride being one the most memorable models he wore thanks to the spotlight that shined on him in Beijing.