Michael Jordan Through The Years: Air Jordan XI – Part 3
Jumping a bit forward in Michael’s history, Michael Jordan Through The Years focuses on a short span of time during Michael Jordan’s tenure with the Washington Wizards. During his second return from retirement, Michael Jordan mixed in a wide array of sneakers with the Air Jordan flagship models of those years – the Air Jordan XVII and XVIII. In fact, Michael had a penchant for wearing his older Retro models during games, most notably the Air Jordan XI ‘Cool Grey’. Perhaps his best performance in those shoes came in 2003 during his final trip to Madison Square Garden; Michael, who has repeatedly expressed his love for playing in the Garden, once again showed that he was the greatest player on the greatest stage by scoring 39 points while leaving the younger defenders speechless, helpless, and in awe.
The Air Jordan XI ‘Cool Grey’ released in March 3rd, 2001 to a rabid crowd of Jordan fans. Just six years ago, Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan XI led the Chicago Bulls to the most dominate season-long performance in the history of league, coming out victorious in seventy-two regular season games and winning the NBA Finals with ease. Michael completed the MVP trifecta of that year as well, earning the ‘Most Valuable’ title in the NBA, the 1996 NBA All-Star Game, and the 1996 NBA Finals. There certainly is no doubt that the Air Jordan XI carries with it a rich heritage of winning, embodying Michael Jordan’s career in on fell swoop, so while the original colorways of the Air Jordan XI – ‘Bred’, ‘Concord’, ‘Space Jam’, and ‘Columbia’ – were all celebrated, the all-new grey-schemed release sent Air Jordan acolytes in a frenzy. The TLC network took interest in this highly-anticipated release as the release of the Cool Greys at NikeTown in Chicago, IL was featured in ‘Buy-ology’, a program that explored the psychological drives behind shopping and the power of consumer culture as a whole.
The Air Jordan XI ‘Cool Grey’ released once again on December 23rd, 2010. As expected, the Cool Greys were sold out instantly in the U.S. and any other available stock in the rest of the world was cleared out not long after. Like the Air Jordan XI ‘Space Jam’ release of 2009, the Cool Grey 2010 were housed in a special slide-out box with a plastic covering, solid shoe tree inserts, and carbon-fiber paper. In a year filled with countless Air Jordan Retros, the Air Jordan XI ‘Cool Grey’ stood above the pack as Jordan Brand saved its marquee Retro release of the year for the very end, dropping just days before Christmas. Anyone and everyone who desired the shoes came out on the winter night to guarantee themselves a pair, as hundreds packed NikeTown in New York City at midnight and another mob convened at Deerbrook Mall in Texas. Continue reading for a complete look at Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan XI below with some great videos, and stay tuned to the next installment of Michael Jordan Through The Years.