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Michael Jordan’s Last Game at Madison Square Garden as a Chicago Bull

It’s the magical aura of New York City that brings out the extra ‘umph’ from within. Ask any baller and he or she will attest to “bringing it” whenever a pick-up game is about the go down, and with several proving grounds on NYC soil like the Rucker, Dyckman, and West 4th leading up to the true epicenter of hooping history at Madison Square Garden, New York City is the undisputed ‘mecca’ of the game. Michael Jordan seems to agree, as he’s brought “it” every time he’s stepped foot on the Garden floor. We already covered the ‘Double Nickel’ in a previous Sneaker News: Was It The Shoes? segment, but let’s take a stroll back in time to another instance of Jordan’s MSG travels.

Knicks fan can’t count on two hands the number of time Michael Jordan walked into the Garden and set the city on fire. The Bulls vs. Knicks rivalry was one of the greatest in sports history despite being severely one-sided in Chicago’s favor, but as much as Knicks fans came out to the Garden with the hopes of beating Jordan, they came for a show. Michael certainly put one on every time the Knicks were on the Bulls’ schedule, but what makes this particular outing so special is that it was potentially Michael’s final performance in Gotham City.

The Bulls had a trip to New York City on March 8th, 1998, and while it wasn’t the final Bulls vs. Knicks match-up (they faced off again in the second to last game of the season), the Madison Square Garden crowd prepared for a departing show. Michael came through again, scoring 42 points while hitting 17 field goals and 7 free-throws. It was an offensive showing on par with the Michael Jordan standard, but did you catch what was on his feet? in 1998, Jordan was rocking the Air Jordan XIII, but for this occasion, he wore an original pair of the Air Jordan 1 in the White/Red/Black.

Michael has never gone ‘retro’ with his in-game footwear before, but bringing out the Air Jordan 1 was a gesture of respect to the fans of New York. It was a stark contrast of new and old; when Michael wore the Air Jordan 1 in ’85, the Bulls’ jersey featured the script logo and varsity lettering on the chest. For this ’98 outing, he was wearing the short-lived alternate jersey in Black. During a time-out, Ahmad Rashad, who was keen on Air Jordans and frequently commented on Jordan’s shoes, pointed out Michael’s shoe selection and noted a pair of White/Red Air Jordan XIIIs that were on reserve in case the shoes were not comfortable

Bringing back Air Jordan 1s in ’98 was one of the coolest NBA Feet moments in the history of the game, and although the magic of Michael’s ‘last game in the Garden’ was spoiled when he came back as a Wizard, this game in particular is noted by many sneakerheads as a significant moment in Air Jordan history. After the game, Michael stated: “Well, I was joking around with my wife at home, and I said, we’re going to New York, might as well bring back the old shoes. It’s been a long time since I wore them, and it’s kinda fun to come back here and play and to remember some of the old days and some of the games i’ve had here, and the shoes are a part of that. My feet are killing me, but it was fun.”

As we all know, the Air Jordan 1 in White/Red/Black is poised for a return in January of 2013 – nearly 20 years after the aforementioned ’94 re-issue. Sneaker News gave you a first-hand preview of the kicks during a Jordan Brand Holiday 2012/Spring 2013 preview, and as the hype continues to mount around the shoes, Sneaker News will gladly re-tell this amazing story!

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