Monday, December 21, 2009

Air Jordan XI Retro - Space Jams

I'm officially declaring this "Space Jams Week" so to kick it off, here are the infamous Space Jams that are releasing this coming wednesday Dec 23. So alright, what's the big deal about these sneakers, anyways?

To answer that, you first gotta remember that Michael Jordan shocked the world when he retired from basketball in 1993, right in the prime of his career. By that point, he was already considered the greatest basketball player of all time. He'd won Rookie of the Year, back-to-back Slam Dunk contests, two Olympic Gold Medals, three NBA MVP awards, was an NBA All-Star every year, had the highest scoring average (32.3 PPG) in the history of the NBA, and of course had just lead the Chicago Bulls to a Three-Peat: winning the NBA Championship three years in a row--and then topped it off by winning the Finals MVP each time. As Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics described him, he was "God disguised as Michael Jordan."

Jordan retired from the NBA on October 6, 1993 due to a series of personal issues, including the death of his father, but he didn't exactly disappear out of the limelight. He chased other dreams, including playing baseball. But then on March 18, 1995 Jordan issued a two-word press release: "I'm Back"

The next day, a year-and-a-half since he'd last worn a Chicago Bulls uniform, Jordan scored 19 points in a game against the Indiana Pacers--and apparently, the whole world was watching as it earned the highest Nielsen rating of a regular season NBA game since 1975. Then a few days later, in just his fifth game back, he scored 55 points against the New York Knicks.

"God disguised as Michael Jordan," indeed.

That year, the Bulls didn't have much success--the season was half over by the time Jordan returned--but his return did boost the team to the Playoffs, where on May 7, 1995 Michael Jordan laced up what many in the sneaker world consider the Greatest Sneaker Ever: The Air Jordan 11 (XI).

The whole world was watching as Jordan came out on the court wearing Concords. Sneakers with shiny black patent leather? That'd never been done before. They were classy and sleek and elegant and futuristic all at the same time. They blew everyone's minds. Cue mass hysteria. High school kids wearing Concords with Tuxedos for Homecoming and Prom. Insane. Jordan was even fined by the NBA for wearing them (not respecting the team colors), similar to the fines he received for wearing the Jordan I in his first season.

And then in his first full season back, Jordan wore the 11s as he led the Chicago Bulls in most dominating season in NBA history, a record-setting 72-10 asswhoopin' of the entire league--and of course another NBA title (and the beginning of the second Bulls Three-Peat). People, we're talking about a dominance level never before seen in the NBA; hell sports in general. The accomplishments of the pre-retirement Michael Jordan were legendary; the dominance of the now un-retired Michael Jordan wasn't even fathomable. It was just flat out stupid. How could anyone be that good?

"God disguised as Michael Jordan."

As the next season began, Jordan mania was still in full effect as Warner Bros. released the feature film SPACE JAM starring Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan. Live action actors mixed in with the cartoon world, sorta like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but with a Basketball twist. Yeah okay, the movie kinda sucked, but every kid in America went and saw it...and saw those shoes. The Space Jams. What were they? An all-new colorway, never seen before? Well that's because there were only five pairs made, just for Jordan to wear in the movie. FIVE PAIRS.

So here you had the greatest player ever wearing the greatest sneaker ever in a brand-new color that no one had ever seen...and you couldn't actually buy em! Talk about pent-up frustration! They weren't available to the public until a Retro release in 2001 (which sold out quick) and haven't been available ever since. Until now, that is.

This wednesday, December 23, Jordan Brand is officially re-releasing the Air Jordan 11 (XI) Space Jam sneaker. As you can see from the pictures, I've already got mine (cop'd em last week) but I'm still gonna go to House of Hoops and stand in line starting tuesday at midnight to snag another pair, but mostly just for the fun of it. I'll post up afterwords about the event, of course, but if you wanna stay up late and catch it live, follow me on Twitter @dsicle or better yet, come out to Town East Mall and freeze your ass off with us as we wait outside Tuesday at midnight.

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