Jordan Brand knows how to do it big. After arriving in Miami and being taken to the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, we hopped on a yacht from the hotel to an undisclosed location somewhere in the heart of Miami. White walls, red mood lighting and the portraits on the walls were closeups of the next shoe in the legendary Air Jordan line: the Air Jordan 2010.
We’re escorted into this room where above the stage with two stools and a white podium (with the AJ 2K10 shrouded in secrecy), is this steam/fog cascading with a light shining through it and the Jumpman logo illuminated. For all the media that were hand-selected to be here, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures or video, so I’m trying to paint you a picture. Basically, it was sick.
As I sat front row and center, the anticipation was starting to build. Was Michael Jordan himself in the building? What about Dwyane Wade, the newest member of the team? The place was swarming with secret service-looking guys in black suits, so for all I knew President Obama was going to come out and unveil the new J’s.
To kick things off, two large video screens showed highlights from MJ’s last title with the Bulls. “You only see what we want you to see,” says the video about the Air Jordan 2010 and MJ’s game, as the highlights focus on the steal on Malone from behind and not necessarily the offensive highlights we’ve all acted out in the driveway.
This is the silver anniversary of the Air Jordan. No. 25 in the line that has inspired so many, so you knew they had to take a look into the past in order to bring us to the present, and push us to the future. With that in mind, it makes complete sense that both Tinker Hatfield (Vice President of Special Projects/Design for Nike) and Mark Smith (Creative Director for Jordan Brand) collaborated with MJ on the Air Jordan 2010.
Taking the literal interpretation of Jordan’s ability to “see through his opponents,” these two visionaries created the brand’s first see-through performance basketball shoe, featuring a unique transparent window in that literally allows you to see through the shoe. There’s even a little Carolina blue on the sock liner that you can see through the window.
“The Air Jordan 2010 pays homage to Jordan’s ability to know his opponents next move while only giving hints of his ability and allowing the players to only see what he wanted them to see on the court,” said Hatfield. “His keen instinct for anticipating his challengers’ next move and disguising his own techniques are just a few of the attributes that led to him being named the greatest basketball player ever to play the game.”
Working for 14-18 months to create it, the Air Jordan 2010 takes a look back at the history of MJ’s career. And realizing that most Air Jordans (whether because of price-point or street status are worn off the court), their goal was to get kids rocking these more in the actual games.
When Wade arrived, he talked about what it meant to him to be the first pitchman for the Air Jordan since MJ himself. (A pretty big honor if you ask me.) “Mike says he wants to see the shoe in the air, and not on the floor,” recalled Wade laughing. That shouldn’t be a problem.
Then Wade’s new boss arrived. Sitting five feet in front of me was His Airness. “No one’s show the shoe yet?” joked Jordan, pointing out the fact that we’d been sitting there talking with Tinker, Mark and Wade but the new Air Jordan 2010 was still under wraps.
“It’s our 25th year, so we wanted to give you a peek into what the shoe represents,” said Jordan. “We’re letting you into our house a little bit. I don’t know how we’ve made it 25 years.
“The celebration of the Air Jordan 2010 and our 25th anniversary are the pinnacle of a year full of milestones for me. With each shoe, consumers have pushed me to take the next Air Jordan beyond their wildest imagination. The Air Jordan 2010 marks the future of Jordan Brand and proves there are no limits to what this Brand is capable of creating.”
While MJ joked that he is “the last on the totem pole to get shoes,” he said ultimately Wade himself will be the greatest test of the shoe when he wears them for the first time in a game during All-Star Weekend.
The best part of the evening was watching Wade and Jordan go back and forth with each other about what would happen on the court if they played in the same era or today.
“I think Mike retired the year before I came in the League… strategically,” said Wade laughing.
“He thinks he can beat me, but I know I can beat him,” said Jordan. “It wasn’t meant to be. I wanted to play Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, but never had the chance.”
As much as we all want to compare people, you never really can. “Is he Michael Jordan? No. Am I Dwyane Wade? No.” This need to compare across generations makes it difficult, but what it means that either way, the player is special.
“The history book inspires them to be some of the best,” said Jordan. “Rules have changed to help them. I could have averaged 50 points today!”
The Air Jordan 2010 will launch nationwide on Saturday, February 13, 2010 for a suggested retail price of $170. Retailer information can be found at www.Jumpman23.com.
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