December 28th, 2012 by Sneaker News
Flyknit was the most visible thing on your flat screen, but did any sneaker capture the essence of this summer’s Olympic spirit better than the Air Jordan VI? We enjoyed a nice variety of basketball bringbacks in the middle of the year, including Charles Barkley’s Air Force 180, Scottie Pippen’s Air Much Uptempo, and Vince Carter’s Shox BB4. Each of these styles has a memorable backstory of Olympic glory, but none of them seemed to compare to the July retro release that took us back not to 1992 or 1984, but rather, 2000 – a year when Michael Jordan was nowhere near the Olympic hardwood. It was during the XXVIIth Olympiad that year in Sydney, Australia that Ray Allen debuted that white and navy combo with red branding we’ve come to know and love as the ‘Olympic’ Air Jordan VI.
This model in which Mike won his first NBA Championship had been retired to make way for the VII by the time MJ and the original Dream Team took to the courts in Barcelona, which gave Jordan Brand the impetus for its latest two-pack in the Golden Moments Package that appeared earlier on this list. The Olympic VIs were more visible this summer than the GMPs thanks to wider availability and a more affordable price point, a fact that affirmed this design’s elite place among the non-OG Air Jordan canon. Jordan Brand’s ‘Road to the Gold’ pack provided Air Jordan 1s and the Super.Fly as preludes and the ‘Olympic’ Jordan VII worn by Mike in ’92 returned after a short hiatus, but after a dozen years of waiting, the first retro of the Olympic VI Retros stood apart as the pick of the litter from this year’s Summer Games themed JB releases.
The shoe was met with open arms by consumers when it released in early July, despite the fact that some purists were vexed by a subtle change in the midsole color-blocking of this year’s version. Over the years, most Air Jordan Retros have remained pretty true to the original blueprints (with the exception of Nike Air branding), but any time there are even the slightest of deviations, they are always met with controversy and public outcry. It still rarely prevents most detractors from picking up a pair anyway and maybe it’s even for the best. Those with such a keen eye for detail will instantly be able to use this cue to determine the vintage of a given pair, so try to look at it as an effective shortcut to easily determine one generation of the shoe from the next.
The numbers of never-retroed original Air Jordan colorways diminishes with each passing year and suggests that we might soon get another round of Wizards-era models in addition to the new colorups we already expect. But will the OG colorway drought lead to the return of more Retro+ successes like this year’s “Olympic” VI and “Thunder” IV reissues and how do we feel about that? In the case of the VI, it seemed like the time was right and the re-release proudly served as a reminder of the Jumpman’s enduring greatness with a new generation of superstar athletes carrying its banner even after Michael’s retirement from the game.
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