No matter how much we try to compare players to him, there will never be another Michael Jordan. The way he transcended the game of basketball onto a global platform is unique to that of any individual athlete. Michael Jordan is the reason many of us love the game of basketball today. But aside from us basketball junkies, Jordan did the exact same for sneakerheads across the globe. With his legendary career & Tinker Hatfield‘s mastermind design skills, Michael Jordan changed the shoe game forever. Through a span of about 15 years Jordan Brand emerged as the pinnacle of sneaker excellence.
You might remember when I picked out my 10 favorite sneakers of all time. Now, in honor of MJ’s 49th birthday, here are the 10 best Air Jordans of all-time…
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10. Air Jordan XIV “Last Shot”
Although the Jordan 14’s aren’t exactly amongst the most popular of the 23 signature Jordan shoes, the “Last Shots” are still some of the most iconic & memorable Jordan shoes of all time. With a Ferrari-inspired design to celebrate Michael’s love for cars, the 14 had a very unique style. For most it was either a love or hate type of shoe. But regardless of the design you have to appreciate the fact that Jordan made his “last shot” in a Bulls uniform wearing these.
9. Air Jordan I (Black/Red)
The Black and Red Jordan 1’s are the genesis of the Jordan era. These are where it all started. Wearing these, Jordan exceeded expectations & took the league by storm as a rookie. This color is particularly special because they were banned by the NBA, which would ultimately just make the shoe even more classic.
8. Air Jordan VII “Olympic”
The Olympic 7’s are definitely one of the best and most recognizable colorways ever on a Jordan shoe. What really makes this shoe special is what Michael and the “Dream Team” were able to accomplish in Barcelona during the 1992 Olympics. The Olympic 7 will always be one of Jordan’s most special shoes.
7. Air Jordan XI “Concord”
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year you know exactly how sought after these shoes are. The Concord 11 was undoubtedly one of the most popular Jordan shoes ever. The Jordan 11 design is widely regarded as the best amongst the 23 in the series, and this color, which was worn by Michael during home games in the ’96 season, has always been adored by Jordan fans. The hype leading up to the retro release this past December was through the roof. If you missed out on your pair on the day of release, your looking at a price tag of close to $500 for a pair of Concords now.
6. Air Jordan III Black/Cement
The Jordan 3 was extremely unique. The elephant print/leather design is simply one of a kind. After recovering from an injury in his second year, Jordan wore these in his third season. He would average an outstanding 37 points per game wearing the Jordan 3’s on top of winning the slam dunk title. The white/cement 3’s and the True Blue 3’s are also classics as well, but the Black/Cement 3 is the most popular Jordan 3 color.
5. Air Jordan XI “Space Jams”
These shoes are so special for a number of reasons. First of all, the Jordan 11 was just an amazing design in it’s own right. It was really hard to go wrong with any color of these. Second of all, Michael actually wore these in a game, even though they didn’t match the Bulls jerseys. And finally, the movie Space Jam was a dream come true for Jordan fans of my era. If you were a kid who loved basketball and the Looney Tunes, what more could you ask for? The Space Jam 11 is the shoe that captured all that. Without a doubt one of the most special Jordan shoes of all time.
4. Air Jordan XII “Playoff”
The Jordan 11 was an extremely tough act to follow, but that made the Jordan 12 even more anticipated. Many feared that JB outdid themselves with the 11’s. However the 12’s definitely did not disappoint. The Playoff 12 was my favorite because of the compilation of the black and white leather. It was one of those shoes you wanted to wear everyday.
3. Air Jordan XIII Black/Red
Once again, Jordan Brand left themselves with another tough act to follow. After arming Jordan with two championship models with the 11’s and the 12’s, they went back to the drawing board to design him a shoe to wear in pursuit of his second three-peat. The 13’s are special because for the majority of Jordan’s last year as a Bull, these were his weapons of choice (until the Finals, of course, when he brought out the 14’s against Utah). To this day, the Black/Red 13’s are some of the most popular Jordans. Sneakerheads everywhere are begging for a retro release of these.
2. Air Jordan XI Black/Red
The Black/Red 11 is the epitome of Air Jordan excellence. If you were to take a poll of Jordan fans everywhere and ask what their favorite pair was, these would probably be at the top of the list. The popularity of this shoe goes way beyond the flawless design. Jordan would have his best season as a Bull wearing these, setting the record for wins in a season with 72. Also, it was his first full season back from retirement and back in the iconic “23” jersey.
1. Air Jordan VI “Infrared”
The Infrared 6 is by far the most classic Jordan shoe. The fact that Jordan won his first ring in these is what makes them the most special. Nothing can take away from the fact that these are the first of the series to get the job done for Michael. Finally getting over the hump and beating Magic and the Lakers in the Finals, Jordan officially began his reign as the best player in the world wearing the Infrared 6’s.
What do you think are the 10 greatest Jordans ever?
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