Browsing the "Michael Jordan Through The Years" Tag
December 2nd, 2010 by John Kim
In 1988, Michael Jordan began his fifth year as an NBA professional, and at the 1989 NBA All-Star break, Jordan debuted the Air Jordan IV. Tinker Hatfield was brought on board once more for his second Air Jordan shoe, the first being the Air Jordan III of the previous year. Michael Jordan went from ready to leave Nike at one moment to fully embracing the potential the next due to the outstanding design of the Air Jordan III. Would Michael’s expectations be too high for the Air Jordan IV?
Since the Air Jordan III and the introduction of elephant print to the Air Jordan signature line, each and every Air Jordan model has been signified by one defining feature; For the Air Jordan IV, it was the use of a plastic-coated mesh upper panel that gave the AJ4 its calling card, as the special material was implemented into the design to add a lightweight yet stylish characteristic to the shoe. Other beautifying features are the triangular wing-flaps that acted as the lace eyelets, the all-new midsole construction that featured visible Air, and a new ‘Flight’ logo written in a flashy script font.
Aside from design features and trademarks, each Air Jordan model is recognized for one specific event in Michael Jordan’s storied career. For the Air Jordan IV, standing about all the great single-game performances, dunks, and scoring displays was ‘The Shot’, that came during the closing seconds of Game 5 of the First Round Playoff Series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Considered to be the greatest game-winning shot in the history of basketball, Michael Jordan suspended himself in mid-air at the top of the key, disregarding the laws of inertia, and sank a buzzer-beating, series-closing jumper, celebrating with a vicious set of fist-pumps before being mobbed by his teammates, while head coach Doug Collins scampered around the court and the Cleveland crowd stared in silence and utter disbelief. Continue reading for the entire Michael Jordan Through The Years: Air Jordan IV feature and stay tuned to the next installment of this Sneaker News Michael Jordan feature.
Read more →
November 18th, 2010 by John Kim
The Air Jordan 1 caused controversy, and the Air Jordan II defied convention. The Air Jordan III tooted its horn when Michael Jordan wore them during the 1988 NBA Dunk Contest, winning in style over the favored Dominique Wilkins and performing the most memorable dunk in the contest’s history – one that will be forever instilled in NBA lore and imagery. The Air Jordan III presented a number of new features to the Air Jordan line, like visible Air, which debuted on the classic Air Max 1, the elephant print, which was a result of Jordan’s desire for an animal print on the shoe, and tumbled leather, which added a level of luxury to basketball shoes and satiated Jordan’s wishes.
The Air Jordan III opened the door to now legendary designer Tinker Hatfield, who went on to design the next twelve consecutive Air Jordan models. Hatfield and the design team worked tirelessly for weeks, sometimes going without sleep for days at time, to create a one-of-a-kind shoe fit for Jordan’s personal and specific tastes and grandstanding enough to be worthy of its own podium. The Air Jordan III also welcomed movie director and fellow Brooklyn-native Spike Lee into the Air Jordan marketing strategy; while the Air Jordan 1 & II utilized a dramatic angle, the III featured a comedic approach, with ‘Mars Blackmon’ hanging on a basketball rim while standing on the shoulders of his “main man” Michael Jordan and providing most of the dialogue while letting Jordan speak with his actions.
However, the Air Jordan III was almost at risk of never being created, as Michael Jordan considered leaving Nike, until a stern chat with his father and a meeting with Tinker Hatfield changed his mind and opened up a newfound excitement for the Air Jordan III and the future of his signature line. The excitement resulted in one of the most successful spans in Jordan’s career; Michael ended the ’88 season with an League MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, All-Star Game MVP, and Dunk Contest Trophy while providing a firm foundation for the following ’88-’89 season, which turned out to be Jordan’s best all-around campaign. The three original colorways were all in rotation – White for the Dunk Contest and regular season, Fire Red for the Playoffs, and Black for All-Star Game. The fourth original colorway, known as the ‘True Blues’, were never worn by Michael as a Bull, but he brought them out during his brief tenure with the Washington Wizards. The Air Jordan III is long considered one of the greatest footwear designs of all time, and by some to be the greatest Air Jordan in the label’s history. Continue reading for a gallery of Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan III and stay tuned to Sneaker News for the next volume of Michael Jordan Through The Years.
Read more →
November 11th, 2010 by John Kim
Last week, Sneaker News launched Michael Jordan Through The Years, a shoe-by-shoe chronicling of the Air Jordan Legacy featuring Michael Jordan, the shoes, and the stories of that year. We kicked it off with the original Air Jordan 1, a shoe that Jordan said reminded him of the devil, but undoubtedly matched his feisty on-court persona and the bullying aura of black and red. However, the Air Jordan 1 was a mere spin-off of the Nike Dunk High, so it was time start anew for the Air Jordan II; the design exuded an attitude if luxury and high performace while seeming shedding its rebellious reputation, but Air Jordan II didn’t necessarily follow all the rules.
The Air Jordan II was designed by Bruce Kilgore, who you know readily for being the man behind the historic Air Force 1, the quintessential Nike shoe and currently the face of the Nike Sportswear. The Air Jordan II was a special project for Kilgore because it wasn’t meant to be a conventional Nike shoe; it was the first signature Nike shoe to not feature a Swoosh logo, but instead featured a diminutive ‘NIKE’ on the rear heel, and introduced an interesting faux-lizard skin material on the upper. The Air Jordan II also featured the luxurious Air Jordan Wings logo on tongue, which also marked the last time the logo would ever make it on an Air Jordan shoe in the years to come. Overall, the level of style and design was unmatched at the time, as Air Jordan II’s 19th-Century boot inspiration and Italian roots separated itself from convention and created a new standard for all the Air Jordan designs to come.
Was there a sophomore slump for the Air Jordan II? The design itself was incredibly unique as were the materials used, and Michael Jordan had a stellar year wearing his second signature shoe (actually his third year – he sat out most of his second year due to injury). Jordan averaged a career-high 37.1 points a game, scored more than 3000 points in a season – the first such occurrence since Wilt Chamberlain did in 1973, and established himself as the best shooting guard in the game, as he was selected to the NBA All-Star team, as well as the All-NBA First Team. An NBA star was born in 1984 – did that 1986-87 season and the Air Jordan II establish a growing legacy? Check out the great gallery of Michael Jordan in the Air Jordan II and stay tuned to Sneaker News for our next installment of Michael Jordan Through The Years.
Read more →
November 4th, 2010 by John Kim
In 1984, a sinewy shooting guard from the Dean Smith-led UNC Tar Heels was selected third overall by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Draft. The daring red and jet black was in unison with his scowling demeanor and mild arrogance, but it was a disarming, boyish smile that forced the league’s collective guard down, leaving it vulnerable to attack from any vantage point. It was too late by the time the league figured out who Michael Jordan really was, and it paid dearly; six NBA Championships, ten straight scoring titles in full seasons, five MVP trophies, and shelves full of other trophies were conceded to one man who created an unreasonable standard for NBA players both during his time and for the years to come.
With him throughout the entire journey was Nike; after a meeting with founder Phil Knight, Jordan joined in and the sports-apparel brand designed a signature shoe that created league-wide disapproval from both Jordan’s on-court peers and the NBA brass up top. “Wear it in a game, and you’ll pay”, said the league, and pay they did. Five-thousand a game. “Who do you think you are? You’re not getting the ball” said his All-Star teammates. Michael answered back by playing in every All-Star Game for every full season he participated in. The Air Jordan 1 was the perfect shoe for the perfect rebel; although Jordan himself did not like the original black and red colorway of the Air Jordan 1, as it reminded him of ‘the devil’, he defied league rules along with the laws of gravity and created an unbreakable foundation for his own Legacy.
Sneaker News proudly presents ‘Michael Jordan Through The Years’, a chronicling of Michael Jordan’s memorable moments from the life and career of the man himself and his signature shoes, looking back at regular season games, All-Star Game appearances, championship-winning nights, and Gold Medal affairs. Starting things off is the Air Jordan 1, a shoe that debuted during Michael Jordan’s rookie year while making some notable appearances along the way. The 1985 NBA All-Star Game, the Dunk Contest, an appearance on David Letterman, the ’85 Playoffs, even during a 1998 game against the Knicks – the Air Jordan 1 saw its fair share of exposure and has come to be an icon in the sneaker world for a multitude of reasons. Continue reading for a detailed gallery of MJ in the Air Jordan 1, and stay tuned to Sneaker News for our new weekly Michael Jordan Through The Years feature.
Read more →