As Mars Blackmon said, “It’s gotta be the shoes.” And for me it’s definitely all about the Air Jordan shoe collection.
Ever since I was a kid watching His Airness play, I was fascinated by all parts of Jordan’s game. A major part being his shoes. I felt they could make me fly just like MJ. Well, spoiler alert… they didn’t. But that’s about the only thing that let me down about the Air Jordan shoe line. And apparently, I’m not alone in my love for his kicks.
MJ has been out of the game as a player for years and Nike is still producing new Air Jordan shoes, and even reintroducing shoes from the past in their Retro Collection. The Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade loved the shoe so much, he dropped his own shoe from Converse and became the main spokesperson to promote the Air Jordan 2010. (Which is technically the Air Jordan 25. After the Air Jordan 23 shoe, Nike has stopped calling the shoe by the number, and used the year instead.)
Every sneaker freak has their favorite shoe. For me, that’s a tough question. It’s like asking a parent which child they love more. So, instead, I’ll give you my Top 10 Air Jordan’s of All Time:
10. The Air Jordan VII
This shoe is known as the Hare Jordan, because Nike’s marketing campaign had MJ in TV ads with Bugs Bunny. The shoe came out in 1992 when Jordan and the Bulls won their second NBA title, and MJ won his third MVP award. Plus this was the shoe that Jordan wore during the 1992 Olympics when he was part of the Dream Team. Instead of the number 23 on the shoe it was replaced with his Olympic number 9.
9. The Air Jordan XIV
I have fond memories of the Air Jordan XIV, because this is the shoe MJ was wearing as he took his last shot as a Chicago Bull, in the Finals against the Utah Jazz to win his sixth title. The shoe was also designed after the Ferrari 550-M.
8. The Air Jordan X
The Air Jordan X was known as “The Comeback Shoe.” The sole has a list of Jordan’s accomplishments from 1985 to 1994. The shoe also has the number 45 instead of 23, in honor of MJ’s brief stint wearing 45. Why just a brief stint? Nick Anderson stole the ball from Jordan during a game in their playoff series against the Magic. The Magic went on to win the series. Anderson said the only reason he even tried to steal the ball was because he saw the number 45 and not 23. That was the last time Jordan ever wore the number 45.
7. The Air Jordan XIII
Released in 1997, the Air Jordan XIII is seventh on my list for the unique style it brought to the line. It has a hologram of the Jumpman logo and the number 23. It is also one of the most comfortable Air Jordans. One of Jordan’s nicknames is Black Cat, and Tinker Hatfield, a designer of many of the Air Jordan’s, wanted to design a shoe that resembled a black panther. When you look at the bottoms, the sole looks like the pads on a panthers paw. Plus the hologram on the back of the shoe imitates a panther’s eye in the dark when light is shined at them.
6. The Air Jordan I
The shoe that started it all, Air Jordan I is sixth on my list. Many shoe fans might say this is blasphemous to have the AJ I not in the top five, but IMHO there are better shoes in the AJ line. I admire the first, and it is one of the only AJ’s with the Nike Swoosh on the shoe. It was released back in 1985 and retro’d many o’ times. This shoe also got Jordan in some hot water back in the day with the NBA, because it violated the league’s uniform policy.
5. The Air Jordan VI
You always remember your first, and Jordan will never forget his first championship when the Bulls beat the Lakers in 1990. These kicks were worn by him that same year. The tongue had two holes on the very top and had a thin lace lock, and back in the day I thought that was so cool. To be honest… to this day I still think the design is very cool. Earlier this year the AJ VI was rereleased and I just had to pick up the shoes in the black and red colorway. Later this year Nike will have an AJ VI package collection of the original colors from 1990, so if you are looking to pick up these shoes keep your eyes peeled.
4. The Air Jordan IV
Spike Lee started working with Jordan and Nike on the shoe commercials, and he also captured a sneakerphile’s attitude in his movie Do The Right Thing. One of the film’s characters, Buggin Out, starts yelling at dude on a bike for scuffing his AJ IV’s. Sneakerphile’s take pride and care in their shoes, so if you mess up their kicks they’ll let you know. This was the first AJ to be sold internationally and became an international best seller. So you can say this is the shoe that started a worldwide frenzy for the AJ line.
3. The Air Jordan III
Number three on my list is the Air Jordan III. I will always remember Jordan going against Dominique Wilkins in the Slam Dunk contest. Jordan won with his infamous jump from the free throw line while sporting the AJ III’s. I have three pairs of the III’s and this shoe is one of the top selling AJ’s of all time.
2. The Air Jordan V
Say it with me… “In West Philadelphia born and raised…” I saw the Fresh Prince rocking the AJ Vs in the opening to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The AJ V is one of the best designed basketball shoes of all time. The shoe was released in 1990 and had a clear rubber sole that gave the shoe a distinctive look, modeled after the World War II Mustang fighter plane. One of the most sought after shoes is the Air Jordan V’s grape colorway. The “Grapes,” as they are called, are my “Chasing Amy.” I haven’t been able to buy this colorway yet… but I have not given up hope. So if you know anyone that has the grapes in size 13 please email me.
1. The Air Jordan XI
Perfection has a name, and I call it the Air Jordan XI. For me, this is hands down the best shoe of all time. That’s right… ALL TIME! The design makes this shoe the best kick to play hoops in. The patent leather around the side of the shoe was added to give it a formal look. Heck I even got married in these shoes. (Note from BG: Wow, Art. Not sure if that’s impressive, or if I want to send your wife a condolence card…)
Plus this shoe hit the big time by being in the animated movie “Space Jam”. I have the two original colors: black/red and white/black, and the ones that were in “Space Jam.” which were black/white/royal blue. You think people don’t want to get their hands on this shoe? I had a guy at a mall offer me $300 for a pair of XIs I was wearing. I looked at him and then looked at my shoes, paused, then looked back at him and said no thanks, and then got an Orange Julius. I’m still very happy with the choice I made that day. If you read this article and say they’re just shoes… well then you’re not a true sneakerphile, And that’s fine because it means more shoes for me.
Art “Comedy Judas” Scorsese III, one of the hosts of the semi-popular podcast, Masters of None, hails from the small Canadian town of New Hampshire. When not driving over the US border to get fries & gravy, he watches the Star Wars trilogy while listening to rap music.