Illinois Fighting Illini 1988-1989 Legacy

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  • Hardwood History

      Illinois Fighting Illini x Legacy Collection

      19nine’s Legacy Collection dives inside the archives to bring back some college basketball classics. Like the originals, we crafted each Legacy pair of retro shorts with the materials and details to honor the original designs. It was a labor of love in our pursuit to provide an era specific keepsake that celebrates the most iconic styles in college basketball history.

      '89 Fighting Illini Legacy

      The 1988-1989 University of Illinois men’s basketball team was electric enough to earn their own nickname that would go down in history as one of college basketball's best.

      "The Flyin' Illini."

      Even better, the name was given to them by Dick Vitale during the height of his powers at ESPN, and it has stuck ever since. The "Flyin' Illini" moniker probably stuck because the team ended Illinois' 37-year Final Four drought.

      Lou Henson, the school's famed head coach, recruited the team entirely from the state of Illinois. Lowell Hamilton, Marcus Liberty and Nick Anderson were all from Chicago. Kendall Gill, Kenny Battle and Stephen Bardo were also raised in the "Prairie State."

      The '89 squad won their first 17 games including a 103-92 double overtime victory over No. 17 Georgia Tech that earned the Illini the nation’s No. 1 ranking.

      After getting Gill back after missing 12 games with a broken foot, Illinois would finish a game behind Indiana for the Big Ten Championship, but they still earned a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region for the NCAA Tournament.

      Illinois began their road to the Final Four in Indianapolis, beating McNeese State in the first round then Ball State in the second to advance to the Sweet 16.

      Now in Minneapolis, Illinois trounced Louisville to reach the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984. Waiting for them were the Syracuse Orangemen.

      Led by Kenny Battle's 28 points and Nick Anderson's 24, the Illini held on for an 89-86 win to reach their first Final Four since 1952. The "Flyin Illini" were Seattle Bound!

      A common foe was waiting for them in the National Semifinal: The Michigan Wolverines. The Illini were 2-0 during the regular season, beating Michigan by double digits twice. However, this time would be different. Led by new head coach, Steve Fisher, and All-American Glen Rice, the Wolverines defeated Illinois 83-81.

      Even without a title, the “Flyin’ Illini” one of the greatest college basketball teams of all time.

      • Modern Standard-Length Fit - SIZE CHART 
      • Material: Premium Heavyweight Mesh
      • Embroidered Team Graphics
      • Stitched Piping
      • Poly Ribbed Waistband with Drawstring
      • Officially Licensed Imported
      • All Designs are trademarks of 19nine, LLC.

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
Steven Sudduth


Also, the customer service I received was some of the best, most considerate, and personal I have ever received!!! I was so pleased, I made another purchase of an Illini jersey--which I also LOVE!!!--for no other reason than to give 19NINE more business!!!

Casey Krebel
89 Flying Illini shorts

Been waiting for these for a long time, not disappointed!!! Excellent quality and spot on. Well done 19 nine! Size up

Joshua Thumm
Great Quality

Love the material and the attention to detail on the logos

Brian Byers
Fighting Illini bball shorts

I effing love these shorts, especially with Chief Illiniwek logo!

Carlos Hayes
19NINE is the GOAT!!

I have a majority of the shorts you guys have released. I have all except (1) pair of the legacy collection. I love your products, however your customer service is what clearly separates you from the rest. A few years ago when you started, I received a letter and a Tshirt from the President. I had the wrong pair of Arizona shorts delivered and you guys sent the correct pair, telling me to keep the other pair for my inconvenience. Lastly, I’ve been looking for the Flying Illini shorts for years ( I even bought the patches on the sides to convert my own pair) and ordered (2) of each so I could put a pair away. When I received the shipment, it only had one pair of each. I sent an email and received a response within an hour. I received the others today. I bought a pair of each for my dad and my brother……19NINE is the GOAT!