December 28th, 2012 by Sneaker News
For every storybook moment in Michael Jordan’s illustrious career, a breathtaking subplot exists with a classic Air Jordan model at center. By now, most of these amazing stories have been successfully retold in the form of the retro sneaker release with some of these iconic Jays getting a “re-run“ of sorts. Through 2011, every original Chicago Bulls-era Air Jordan that Michael ever laced up in a game had returned to store shelves – with the glaring exception of the Air Jordan X. Jordan Brand hasn’t been shy about re-issuing the first line of Bulls-colored Air Jordans, but the “Chicago” X held onto the rare distinction of being the last of a diminishing breed of un-touched originals. This past January, that title no longer applied once the Chicago X hit stores in what amounted to be one of the most long-awaited retro releases in Air Jordan history.
So what exactly is the story behind this legendary shoe? Well, consider the fact that Tinker Hatfield designed the Air Jordan X with Michael’s post-career era in mind. With the possibility of Michael never playing the game ever again, an emphasis was placed on honoring Michael’s achievements and legacy – a career retrospective in sneaker form, listed all across the outsole of the shoe. Despite enjoying his time away from the NBA as a minor-league baseball player, the desire for basketball competition was an internal fire
that Michael would never be able to extinguish and in March of 1995, he made the shocking announcement of his intent to return to the NBA. One day later, he was inserted into the starting line-up against the Indiana Pacers, wearing the Air Jordan X ‘Chicago’ on his feet – a moment soon immortalized by Sports Illustrated with the legendary ‘I‘m Back‘ magazine cover.
While the return of this original Air Jordan colorway was long overdue and widely celebrated, this January release wasn’t a true bring-back of an original, as a few notable details were changed with the 2012 issue. The inner lining was no longer a solid red and instead came with the checkerboard print, the heel Jumpman logo was now red instead of black, and the tongue now featured an Air Jordan debossed logo. Despite those discrepancies, the heavy anticipation for the release didn’t let up a bit, and additional Air Jordan X releases that followed in the ‘Old Royal’ and ‘Stealth’ picked up where the ‘Chicago’ left off, as the under-appreciated model got some rare retro love throughout the first half of the year. While the story of the Air Jordan X is one that isn’t often told, the decision to finally revisit this milestone event in Michael’s career was an undisputed highlight in Jordan Brand’s massive line-up of 2012 Retro releases.
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