Jordan Brand defined the method of storytelling through sneakers and over three decades in, they’re continuing to remind the world exactly who the GOAT is. A major influence on the brand’s ongoing success and future growth is the recognition of key dates, moments, and random facts, and coming this Saturday is an icon that is jam-packed with history that’s relevant to the unparalleled greatness of MJ’s career and the most flourishing stages of sneaker culture in the early 2000s. Before the shoe officially releases on May 4th, check out the six quick facts that you may or may not have known.
The Air Jordan 4 was designed by Tinker Hatfield. The legendary sneaker architect wasn’t around since the beginning of the Air Jordan line, but he entered during a key junction of the partnership. After the release of the Air Jordan 2, Michael considered leaving Nike to explore other options. Tinker stepped in, delivered the Air Jordan 3, and the rest was history.
It’s most iconic on-court moment was “The Shot”, in which Michael Jordan hit a series-winning jumper over Craig Ehlo and the Cavaliers. It was considered one of the clutchest moments in Jordan’s career, especially considering Cleveland swept the Chicago Bulls during the regular season – six games to none. It also marked the early roots of a dynasty that led to six championships in the six full seasons that MJ played in the 1990s.
The Air Jordan 4 “Bred” almost had a funky paint splatter. This original sample from 1989 suggests that the black/red flagship colorway could have had this wild print, or could have released alongside the standard version. Tinker Hatfield and Nike would later revisit a bold motif for the Air Jordan 8 in 1993.
The actual nickname for this colorway is “Black Cement”. Long before the term “Bred” was appointed to pretty much any original Air Jordan in a black red colorway, sneakerheads during the internet forum era referred to these as the “Black Cement” 4s. Due to the fact that the Air Jordan 3 was also called “Black Cement”, many assumed the latter word to be a nod to the elephant print, but it was actually a reference to the Cement Grey hue used on the outsole and inner lining.
The Air Jordan 4 “Bred” will have released a total of five times (as of May 4th). The original, as you know, released in 1989. The first retro came in 1999 in a silver box and featured the highly valued Nike Air on the heel. It would not appear on store shelves again until 2008 during Jordan’s year-long run of “Countdown Package” releases, but there were a couple of catches: it was paired up with the Air Jordan XIX, and the Nike Air logo on the heel was nowhere to be found. In 2012, the shoes returned once more with a period-specific shoebox and black tissue.
One of the lesser-known pop-culture references of the Air Jordan 4 “Bred” came in 1989, when a young man named Shawn Carter appeared in his first-ever music video – Jaz-O’s “Hawaiian Sophie.” Jay-Z was captured by a Polaroid in a squat pose, flossing a huge gold chain, and the Air Jordan 4s. While a screenshot of this image has floated around the internet for years, the original developed Polariod taken by a former NBC Studios wardrobe assistant was recently tracked down by retailer Concepts.