As always, my stories usually begin with Mixtape Chic and I were talking about...well, we were talking about Jordans. She had recently bought the XIII (on Black Friday) and I was talking about buying the XI tonight. Then we talked a little bit about the role they play in hip hop. So, I said fresh Js are to hip hop, what Puffy was to Biggie (because I like to think I'm clever :-p). That pretty much sums it up.
At midnight, people will be purchasing the Retro Jordan XI, after waiting for hours (even days) in front of Foot Lockers across the nation for them to come out. What drives this insanity that has been going on since the 90s? Was it Jordan? The man, the myth, the legend of greatness. Can one man truly drive people to this degree of lust over a shoe?! Who really knows. All we know is that hip hop culture may be their number 1 fan.
Here are all of the original Jordans and a brief description of each. Which ones were your favorite? Which ones are your favorite now? What drives you to buy?
Air Jordan I
These came out in 1984 when Jordan signed his endorsement deal with Nike. The black and red version was banned by the NBA in 1985 due to color restrictions. This version of the shoe has the most color versions of all of the Jordans. The originals also came with two sets of laces.
Air Jordan II
The second pair were released in 1986/87. This is the season that Jordan was averaging 37.1 points a game. He also played in that season's All Star Game and won the Slam Dunk Championship.
Air Jordan III
This pair was released in 1988, the year Jordan won his first MVP award. This was the first shoe to feature the JUMPMAN logo. It is also the most popular pair ever. This was the shoe that started the Mars Blackmon commercials that Spike Lee played in.
Air Jordan IV
This pair was released in 1989. By the time this pair came out, the shoes began to gain some more popularity and started selling out in certain areas.
Air Jordan V
This pair was released in 1990, when Phil Jackson took over as coach of the BULLS. The rumor is that the design was inspired by the WWII Mustang fighter plane.
Air Jordan VI
This pair was released late 1990 and early 1991. (This is when I started my obsession with the brand...if anyone cares to know) This shoe was released during the era of Jordan's first NBA Championship with the Bulls (when they beat the Lakers!!!) (Also note that this is where my Laker hatred began for those who know me and know my true feelings towards the Lakers franchise)
Air Jordan VII
This pair was released in late 1991 and early 1992. Jordan won another championship with the Bulls and was on the 1992 Dream Team, who won Olympic Gold. This shoe was also featured in a special Olympic color combo with Jordan's Dream Team #9 on them.
Air Jordan VIII
One of my faves, released in 1992/1993 when the Bulls won there 3rd NBA Championship with Jordan. This pair was only made in 3 color combinations.
Air Jordan IX
This shoe was released in 1993, the same year that Jordan announced that he would retire from the game at the age of 30. The sole of this shoe was very detailed and featured words in 8 different languages.
Air Jordan X
This pair was released in 1994/1995. Jordan returned to the game in 1995. The soles on these featured honors and awards for each year Jordan had spent in the NBA.
Air Jordan XI
These were release in 1995/1996 and Jordan led the Bulls to another NBA championship. Jordan was fined $5000 per game for wearing the original white and black ones, since the rest of the team wore all black (this was considered a uniform violation).
Air Jordan XII
These were released in 1996/1997. Jordan won another NBA Championship in 1997 beating the Jazz in the finals. This shoe was inspired by the flag of the Japanese Army and Navy. This was also the first shoe in the series that did not have a Nike logo or swoosh anywhere on the shoe.
Air Jordan XIII
Released in 1997/1998 as Jordan led the Bulls to their 6th NBA Championship. This shoe featured a hologram on the side that showed a basketball, 23, and the jumpman logo. The shoe was said to be inspired by a panther.
Air Jordan XIV
This pair was released in 1998/1999. 1999 also marked Jordan's 2nd retirement from the game of basketball. It was the first design that featured laces with metal tips. Each shoe had a total of 7 jumpmans to total 14 per pair.
Air Jordan XV
This pair was released in 1999/2000. It was the first shoe to be released after Jordan's retirement. It was inspired by the air craft X-15 that was developed by NASA.
Air Jordan XVI
This pair was released in 2001. This was the first shoe that featured a removable piece that gave the shoe an entirely different look.
Air Jordan XVII
This shoe was released in 2002 as Jordan was playing for the Wizards. This shoe featured a removable midsole, so you could choose if you wanted the laces visible or not. The shoe also came with a Jumpman embossed metal carrying case with a CDROM (exclusive).
Air Jordan XVIII
This shoe came out in 2003 when Jordan retired for the last time from the NBA. The shoes were inspired by sleek racing lines of the auto world, F1 race cars, race car driving shoes, and fine Italian dress shoes.
Air Jordan XIX
This shoe was released in 2004 and was inspired by the Black Mamba. The shoe featured a material that had never been used in shoe design before. The sleeving, called tech-flex, is a material used in the automotive industry, that stretches comfortably, but also provides great support.
Air Jordan XX
This shoe was released in 2005. The heel features the figures 85 and 05 embedded in the mesh. The lace covers were laser etched with symbols representing different stages in Michael Jordan and Air Jordan's life.
Air Jordan XXI
This shoe was released in 2006. The front of the shoe was made to look like the grill of a Bentley. The 21 was said to embody all of the elements of Jordan: the man, the style, the legend
Air Jordan XXII
This shoe was released on Michael Jordan's 44th birthday, February 17, 2007. It was inspired by the F-22 Raptor. The traction on the soles are supposedly some of the best out there.
Air Jordan XXIII
This is said to have been the last model of Air Jordans to be made. The jumpman logo is only found on the tongue of the right sneaker. It was released in 3 different colors.
So, after writing this article with resources found at www.kicksonfire.com I got the renewed excitement of owning a pair of Jordans. For me, it is a way of keeping Jordans legacy alive. With retro releases, people are still lining up to get a pair. There are collectors, artists, basketball players, and "regular man" all trying to get their hands on the latest release. That's incredible! Here are some pics of some of the hip hop community rockin' their Js:
|Big K.R.I.T. in Air Jordan IV|
J. Cole in the Air Jordan VII
J. Cole at the 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards in the Air Jordan XI
Kanye West in Air Jordan VI Retro
Drake in Retro Air Jordan III
|Drake in Air Jordan III|
Diddy in Air Jordan XIII Retro on 106 and Park-Freestyle Friday
Curren$y in Air Jordan V
Fabolous in Air Jordan VI Retro
Big Sean in Air Jordan XIII
Big Sean in Air Jordan VI
Pharrell Williams in the Air Jordan III
Eminem in Air Jordan IV
Jay-Z in Air Jordan III
Kid Cudi in Air Jordan IV
Ludacris in Air Jordan Special Edition XXIII
Mos Def in Air Jordan VI
|Nitty Scott, MC in Air Jordan XI|
|Amanda Diva-Air Jordan III|
|Kendrick Lamar Air Jordan 3|
The Greatest that ever did it!!!
- Photo Chic