Jordan was created out of the greater mandated Palestine following World War I. The British saw an opportunity to appease Abdullah, a son of Hussein ibn Ali, who was ruler of the Hejaz in Arabia. In 1923, the Kingdom of Transjordan was carved out of the area of mandated Palestine and the Hashemite dynasty began. Though Transjordan was an Allies supporter during World War II, in 1948 the country joined the Arab League, changed its name to Jordan. and participated in the 1948 war with Israel. As a consequence of this conflict, Jordan gained territory: the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem which were annexed n 1950. Many of the Arab refugees from that war were placed in camps in the West Bank and the population of Jordan is today, overwhelmingly Palestinian. The late King Hussein came to the throne in 1952 following the assassination of his grandfather, King Abdullah and the abdication of his father due to mental illness. Hussein went to war against Israel once again in 1967. The Six Day War left Israel in control of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, along with other territories seized from Egypt and Syria. Though Jordan had once hoped to remain the negotiator for the Palestinians in the matters of territory, it was forced to cede that power to the PLO under Yassir Arafat. Jordan has made some questionable decisions over the years including its opposition to the Camp David accords and the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and its support of Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War in 1991. But its charismatic king and policies that appeared to Western eyes as moderate, particularly when compared with its more radical neighbors, has helped Jordan to be viewed favorably by the US. And, Jordan's decision to make a formal peace with Israel in 1994, also earned the country renewed respect. Hussein's death in 1999 resulted in the ascension to the throne of his son, Abdullah who has pledged to continue his father's efforts on behalf of peace.
Jordan History - History
A History of the Air Jordan V
A History of the Air Jordan V
By the time February 1990 rolled around, the only thing Michael Jordan had yet to accomplish on a basketball court was to win a NBA championship.
The perennial All-Star and MVP candidate routinely dazzled with aerial dunking displays since his first pro game in 1984. He led the league in scoring multiple times, won MVP, won Defensive Player of the Year, scored 63 points in a playoff game at the Boston Garden, and crushed the souls of entire fanbases with clutch game-winning shots. Jordan’s legend was ascending to its apex, only to be swatted down to Earth during some particularly brutal playoff matchups with the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons.
Jordan would drag teams by his bare hands into slugfests against Detroit in three consecutive playoffs (before eventually sweeping them in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals). The “Jordan Rules” were implemented by Detroit’s group of grizzled vets, and Jordan routinely took a beating, getting pushed and shoved to the ground with regularity on drives into the paint.
But Jordan was relentless, and despite being repeatedly rebuffed in the playoffs against Detroit heading into 1990, Jordan kept coming back, adding to and tweaking his already stellar offensive arsenal, ready to attack from all angles with the magnitude of an Air Force fleet.
It worked. During the 1989-90 season, Michael Jordan hit 92 three-pointers while wearing the Jordan V. He had only hit 68 threes in all prior seasons combined. While that is maybe a league average number of makes in today’s game, it was indicative of Jordan’s incessant work ethic. Always looking for an edge, always looking to add another weapon to his already unstoppable arsenal.
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A Tinker Hatfield sketch outlining the Jordan V's signature "sharktooth" side detail (1990)
When legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, the architect behind most of the world’s favorite Air Jordan models, was coming up with the inspiration for the upcoming Jordan V, he took Jordan’s attacking style into account. Aside from being functional and supportive of the world’s greatest athlete’s feet, the aesthetics and design needed to match Jordan’s mindset.
Hatfield witnessed Jordan’s biting on-court style and made that the focal point of the V’s design. Inspired by the P-51 Mustang fighter jet, an American-made plane used for air raids in Germany during World War II, Hatfield found the perfect personification of Jordan’s incessant pursuit of dominance.
The Mustang was designed in 1940 by North American Aviation and helped ensure Allied air superiority during battles in Europe, Africa and the Pacific during World War II. At one point during the war, Mustang pilots claimed to have destroyed over 4,950 enemy aircrafts. The famous Tuskegee Airmen were also known for flying Mustangs during their incredible run.
A version of the P-51, aptly dubbed “The Shark” features cartoonish shark teeth along the barrel of the jet, right by the propellor, on the gray plane. That inspiration can be clearly found on the midsole of the Jordan V.
Aside from the obvious design quirks and fighter jet homages, the V is actually a trendsetting shoe within the Air Jordan line. For example, it was the first shoe in the line to feature a clear outsole. Tinker Hatfield had previously designed Marty McFly’s Nike MAG from Back to the Future II, which had clear molding on the outsole, allowing light to come through. Word is that’s where Hatfield got the idea to bring that clear sole to the Jordan V. The soles introduced a new look, but gave way to increased yellowing when exposed to moisture.
For the first time, the Jordan V had reflective 3M material on the tongue, which, over time, became a popular touch within the wider line. The shoe also sported a molded ankle collar.
Jordan V "Fresh Prince" (2018)
When the original Jordan V colorways started to release in February 1990, they retailed for $125. The four original colorways were white/black, black/metallic, white/fire red and white/grape. Jordan would ultimately retro the V in 2000, the first retro of the new millennium, Since then, the V has seen over 40 different releases, including low tops, hybrids and collaborations with some of your favorite childhood television shows.
In September of 1990, as Michael Jordan was about to embark on the season that would eventually land him his coveted first NBA championship, a new show premiered on NBC called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show featured a young Will Smith, who back then was known as just a rapper, moving across the country from his humble West Philadelphia roots to Bel-Air with his wealthy aunt and uncle. It’s now been 22 years since its season finale aired and the show is a bonafide classic, not to mention a star-making vehicle for Smith who—as we all know—went on to have a prolific acting career.
Aside from the hilarious antics of Smith and his family, one of the takeaways from the show was its fashion. While his family always remained preppy and buttoned-up, Smith was always flamboyant and colorful. Whether wearing his school blazer inside out or a lime green striped shirt, Smith proudly represented the bold fashion of the early-’90s. That meant a steady rotation of Air Jordans on screen, most notably the Jordan V in a variety of colorways.
It may not have been planned, but The Fresh Prince was to the Jordan V what Do The Right Thing was to the Jordan IV, a timeless piece of pop culture that helped legitimize the shoe off the court. Jordan had already legitimized it on the court, but all the best Jordans transcend beyond sports and into the pantheon of pop culture. The “Grape” Jordan V specifically became a much sought after shoe in sneaker communities for years thanks to the color’s appearance on The Fresh Prince, having gone 16 years between its original release and its eventual 2006 retro, and will go down as one of the most popular Jordans in a non-Chicago Bulls colorway, thanks in no small part to its many appearances on The Fresh Prince.
Jordan Brand acknowledged as much, even releasing a Bel Air version of the shoe in 2013. But in 2018, the brand went above and beyond for Smith’s 50th birthday on September 25th. Jordan released a tinkered version of the “Grape” V, this time with Nike Air branding on the heel for the first time since its original 1990 release.
The shoe has many unique details paying homage to Smith’s classic role. “West Philadelphia” is spelled out on an embossed tongue, shouting out his hometown. His version features a moc design with no shoelaces, an unlaced look he popularized on the show. The sockliner is a bright pink and yellow stripe, reminiscent of his old wardrobe choices. This version sold for $190, a slight bump from the shoe’s original $125 price tag. Jordan also sent Smith a friends and family version with the classic Grape accents and a gold upper, limited to just 23 pairs.
Supreme x Jordan V "Desert Camo"
In 2015, Supreme tapped the Jordan V silhouette as its first-ever Jordan Brand collaboration. Working its box logo typeface onto the interior and exterior side grate of each Jordan V, Supreme’s sneaker was accented by small details, like featuring “94” in place of “23” on the outer heel of the shoe—a nod to Supreme’s founding in 1994. Overall, the streetwear brand’s take on the Jordan V was relatively restrained in the colorway department… as long as you’re not counting one iteration’s “desert camo” upper. The sneaker dropped a week before a co-branded apparel collection, with items bearing both the Jumpman logo and the words “Supreme” written in Jordan Brand type.
Jordan V "Paris Saint Germain" (2018)
In 2018, Jordan Brand ventured into the professional soccer world, becoming the apparel sponsor for Paris Saint-Germain. The club will be outfitted in full Jordan kits for the upcoming season and Jordan released two shoes--the I and V--to commemorate the move. The V looks very similar to the OG black/metallic, but with a red stripe going down the back of the shoe, the PSG Jordan logo on the heel, and a number 75 on the outsole, replacing the usual number 23. The PSG kits are predominantly black and white with hints of red. A white PSG V was also released, albeit in limited quantities to friends and family in a white colorway that will not make its way to retail.
Sticking with Jordan’s recent love affair with Paris, a Quai 54 version of the Jordan V has long been a popular version of the shoe for resellers. The white and lime green version, with the Quai 54 logo on the outsole, was released to commemorate Jordan Brand’s involvement in the Quai 54 streetball tournament, the largest streetball tournament in the world, in Paris.
For 14 years, Nike and Jordan have partnered with the event, which celebrates court, culture and community. The event takes place at the Pelouse De Reuilly courts in Paris, featuring 16 elite teams from 10 countries, plus appearances from professional players and live performances. Each year Jordan releases shoes and clothes to accompany the event, but the Quai 54 Vs are one of its most successful releases. They can still fetch on average of about $450 a pair on the resale market.
Since retro-ing for the first time in 2000, the V has seen subsequent re-releases in 2006-2009, 2011 and 2013-2017. Some popular non-OG versions include the “Laney” Vs (an homage to Jordan’s high school), “Green Bean” Vs, Wolf Grey Vs and the “Raging Bull” Vs.
On the court, the V served as the vessel for Jordan’s aerial attacks that season much like its inspiration did decades prior. It was engineered, from the shark tooth sole up to its reflective tongue, to assist the world’s greatest athlete in his unending pursuit of domination. Off the court, it quickly became a hallmark of early-’90s fashion and an iconic pop culture article. Whether on the feet of a kid from West Philadelphia or the greatest basketball player in the world, the V stood out and stood up to any and all challengers.
History of Jordan
Before the AIR JORDAN, all basketball shoes were white. This simple statement only begins
to describe the sheer magnitude of the changes that were about to occur to the sport of
basketball and to the athletic footwear industry once Michael Jordan entered the league.
Since Michael’s arrival and the launch of the AIR JORDAN franchise, both the game and
the industry have been utterly transformed.
Each year, a new AIR JORDAN is unveiled. An annual event since its debut in 1985, each
unveiling has been met with ever-increasing anticipation from the media, the industry,
and the buying public. AIR JORDANs perennially dominate the market in sales and demand,
establishing with each year’s model higher benchmark standards in design, innovation and
performance for the entire athletic footwear industry. At the heart of the franchise is
the perfect synergy between athlete and technology – Michael Jordan, the greatest player
in the history of basketball, and the shoes he’s worn throughout his illustrious career
that epitomize his relentless dedication to performance, innovation and achievement.
Today’s AIR JORDANs continue to build on the franchise’s rich history of innovative
design and uncompromising performance. Inspired by the greatest to ever play the game,
the franchise continues to lead and shape the athletic footwear industry into the
future. As Michael’s legend continues to grow, his legacy in the AIR JORDAN franchise
Hidden History: The lost community beneath Jordan Lake
When people take their boats out on the waters of Jordan Lake, they may not realize they're floating above an entire buried community, including homes, farms, foundations and even graveyards.
Sitting in the crook of the New Hope Valley, Jordan Lake is man-made, created in the wake of several flooding disasters. The terrain of the New Hope Valley has always made navigation difficult, and the frequent floods fated the end of many of the farms and surrounding communities.
In the 1950s, the government began acquiring long-standing family homesteads, where generations of North Carolinians grew and hunted food, for the purposes of controlling floods and building the New Hope Dam, which would later create Jordan Lake.
Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers
However, because of delays in the project, some homes and buildings sat vacant for decades. In fact, from these abandoned buildings came the decor of some popular Raleigh businesses of the era, including an underground music venue in the Village Subway. Coincidentally, the Village Subway was later sealed beneath the city and forgotten, much like the homesteads rest forgotten beneath the lake.
Many of the abandoned homes -- and even some graves -- were looted. If you were to take a scuba suit and go diving, structural remains would still be visible today, including foundations of homesteads and barns.
The New Hope Valley: A divided history
According to Bob Crowley, Curator of History for the North Carolina Railway Museum, the New Hope Valley has historically been the divide between the Eastern and Western parts of North Carolina. Aside from the rough terrain causing danger and difficulty traveling, it was also regularly raided by members of the Tuscarora tribe.
"The 1600s around here were pretty rough," said Crowley. "The New Hope Creek had steep siding. You could ford the Haw or the Cape Fear, but you needed a boat to cross the New Hope."
This made it difficult and expensive for merchants to cross the state with their wares, closing down trade routes between the East and West of the same colony. Land surveyors at the time, including the famous John Lawson, noted in reports the New Hope Creek and Valley were problematic.
"In the pre-Revolutionary days, the government didn't have a highway department. If you wanted a road, you got a permit and you built it yourself," he said.
No one had any reason to spend time or money building a road or bridge across the river until a farmer named Francis Cypert acquired land on both sides of the New Hope. The strain of ferrying his oxen back and forth across the river became too much, and he applied to the colony of North Carolina to build a bridge -- with a toll. He also built a tavern beside the bridge.
Since his bridge was the only way to easily cross, "all the commerce and government had to go over Cypert's bridge, and most stayed at his tavern," said Crowley. In the 1700s, taverns were an important part of the colony's government and trade, as they provided places to stay along the road. The capital of North Carolina was decided by a tavern, only a day's travel from Cypert's -- Isaac Hunter's Tavern.
Today, Cypert's road is still a main thoroughfare. It grew and expanded into Highway 64, which now travels over Jordan Lake. "Cypert's tavern," shares Crowley, "would be underwater now."
Lost communities along the riverbank
If you look at the map today, you'll notice familiar names mentioned in this very article. Communities and townlets, some so small they were never officially incorporated, dotted the New Hope Valley and the watery borders of Lake Jordan.
Some are washed away some are now just a name on a street sign. But you can still drive through a few that are safely on the shore and get a taste of what life is like in the New Hope Valley. Bonsal, for example, is a unique blend of dilapidated wooden barns and immaculate white 1800s homes from the Old South.
"Out in the woods," Crowley said, "You can probably find old abandoned houses and homesteads."
Crowley begins rattling a list of some of the New Hope Valley's old communities.
"Seaforth," he says, "Is a dot in the middle of the lake today."
"There was also Farrington, the biggest town in the valley. It had a full-sized working saw mill."
"Lane was another one," he says. "And Friendship, which was one of the first integrated communities where even right after the Civil War, black and white people could live as neighbors."
Log Pond -- which later became Apex -- and New Hill were also part of the New Hope Valley.
In 1933, the US Army Corp. of Engineers made a survey, pointing out, like surveyors from the past, that New Hope Creek was problematic. The way it was formed meant it didn't have a good floodplain. When it rained, it would overflow its banks.
Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers
But in 1933, North Carolina wasn't yet ready to take on the enormous task of creating a dam that would permanently wash out or alter many of these communities.
Hurricane no. 9: The final disaster
"In 1945 Hurricane No. 9 blew across the Atlantic, smacked into Florida, and rolled up Georgia and South Carolina before stalling over North Carolina," said Bob Crowley, Curator of History at the North Carolina Railway Museum. "It was like Noah. For three days it poured down rain. If you go down along the Cape Fear river you can see water marks 8 feet above the ground." It caused over 2 million dollars in damage.
The Army Corp. of Engineers' survey was called to the forefront once again. This time, according to author Heather Leigh Wallace, author of Images of America: Jordan Lake, "Senator B. Everett Jordan secured funding for its development in 1963." The project included building a dam that would create a reservoir to prevent future flooding. It was named The New Hope Project.
According to Wallace's book, archeologists were allowed to dig for historic artifacts before the construction began, and multiple items from Native American tribes were pulled from the ground.
The senator was deeply passionate about the project however, he did not live to see it completed.
"Originally the dam was called New Hope Dam, and it would have been New Hope Lake," Crowley said. "But they re-named it Jordan Lake, in his honor."
Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers
The forgotten Pea Ridge community
In preparation for building the dam and filling Jordan Lake, the government bought land and homes. The families were well-compensated and moved, according to Crowley, "just about anywhere they wanted to go, within reason." Some people moved across the state to live with other family members some moved to nearby towns. Quite a few moved to Raleigh.
Families also had the option of excavating family graves and moving the bodies to other cemeteries. However, some of these families had been living on inherited land for generations, burying loved ones in family graveyards on their own land with graves that had rotted away or been left unmarked. It can be assumed that not all bodies were exhumed.
One stretch of land, mentioned in Wallace's historical account, was more deeply affected than the rest. During the course of decades, the Pea Ridge community had built up along Pea Ridge Road, a major thoroughfare through Chatham County. The land there, Wallace writes, was more fertile from years of deposits and flooding. According to Wallace, the farmers along Pea Ridge Road were especially passionate about their land. They tilled and survived the Depression, the rains and floods, and inherited the farms "through blood, sweat, and tears."
When they left their homes, it took time to move all their belongings -- sometimes weeks. People from the Triangle area assumed the homes were abandoned and began exploring and looting the buildings that were left behind. According to Wallace, "many treasures were lost."
As the water rose, trees, foundations, and even Pea Ridge Road disappeared beneath the waves.
Jordan Lake today
That's why the stories must be passed down, written, and remembered. Next time you enjoy a sunny day on the lake, remember the families who settled the difficult and dangerous land of the New Hope Valley, and the history that is hidden beneath the waters.
When the dam was completed in 1982, Jordan Lake not only prevented future flooding but also became a recreational location for swimming and boating. North Carolinians born after the dam's construction may never know the stories of the farmers, tribes, and communities that survived in the New Hope Valley for hundreds of years.
A Very Brief History of Michael Jordan’s Shoes
Thirty-one years ago, a young filmmaker named Spike Lee teamed with Michael Jordan for a shoe commercial that helped launch Jordan’s signature Nikes. And with those five words, the sneaker game was forever changed.
The argument can be made that nobody – ever – has been as famous for their footwear as Jordan since Dorothy clicked her heels in The Wizard of Oz. Entertainment icons have flaunted flashy footwear for generations, and plenty of athletes have attached their names to signature kicks, but for impact on the shoe industry, Jordan stands alone.
The first Air Jordans – their red, black and white design considered flashy at the time – evolved into a series of 34 different shoe models, a nearly endless array of athletic apparel and even a few nicknames for the player who inspired them all: His Airness.
Plenty of collectors covet and have each of the Air Jordan models. But shift the focus from shoes created for Jordan to shoes worn by Jordan, and the demand changes significantly.
Consider some of the Jordan shoes being offered in Heritage Auctions’ Summer Platinum Night Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction Aug. 29-30:
The casual fan or collector might think Jordan has never worn a shoe other than those made by Nike – not true. The shoe world’s ultimate version of “it’s all about who you know” yielded 1984 Michael Jordan Olympics Trials Game-Worn & Team-Signed Sneakers with Letter from Son of USA Team Doctor.
The consignor had the good fortune of being the son of a team doctor at the University of Indiana, which in terms of these shoes gave him two advantages: a friendship with Patrick Knight, the son of Indiana University and U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball coach Bobby Knight, and entry into tryouts for the 1984 Olympic team, which were being held in Bloomington. The consignor and Patrick Knight got to hang out with some of the players at the team’s hotel pool – the two even engaged in a game of “chicken” in the water, with each sitting atop the shoulders of one of the players.
The consignor rode a hotel elevator that was crowded with players, including Jordan, who gave him the Converse practice shoes he was carrying. The consignor later called upon his friend, Patrick, to take the shoes on the team bus to get them autographed, landing signatures from the likes of Jordan, Magic Johnson, Chris Mullin and Wayman Tisdale.
As teams improve, there often is that one team that presents a repeated roadblock on the path to championship glory. For the Bulls in the late 1980s, the team that was the Detroit Pistons, who reached the finals in three straight years and won NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. The Bulls broke through after that, of course, winning six championships in eight years, but until they did, the Bad Boys from the Motor City were their most hated rival.
Yet it was in Detroit that a Pistons ball boy received the 1988 Michael Jordan Eastern Conference Semifinals Game Worn & Signed Air Jordan III Sneakers from the league’s biggest star after a game. That the consignor received the shoes was remarkable, considering the intensity of the rivalry between the two teams and the postseason frustration Jordan and the Bulls had felt up until that point.
If Michigan’s Fab Five validated the existence of long shorts, it was Jordan who accelerated the acceptance of – and demand for – shoes with wild color combinations. Case in point: the 1991-92 Michael Jordan Game-Worn & Signed Air Jordan VI Sneakers with Arm Band that can be traced back to the season in which he won his second Most Valuable Player award. Arguably the second-most important model after the original Jordans, these shows come from the manager of the merchandise department of Chicago Stadium.
They’re not just any shoes from the player often referred to as the greatest of all time Jordan wore these late in the team’s first title run and in the early portion of the following season. They even come with a bonus prize: the winning bidder also will receive a black sweatband that Jordan wore near his left elbow.
What’s the phrase? Good things happen to good people? A version of that landed a pair of 1992 Michael Jordan Game-Worn & Signed Air Jordan VII Sneakers in the hands of the consignor, a former ball boy for the Miami Heat, whose father was a Heat season ticket holder. The ball boy overheard Jordan tell his public relations representative that he needed additional tickets to the game, and since his father’s tickets were going unused that night, he offered them to Jordan, who asked what the ball boy wanted as a show of gratitude. The ball boy asked for Jordan’s game shoes from the game, and Jordan delivered, handing over the shoes after the game and signing each one.
While perhaps enjoying the fact that his tickets helped the game’s biggest star and earned his son a keepsake that he has kept in storage for decades, the ball boy’s father missed out on a stellar performance by Jordan, who poured in 39 points in a 105-100 Chicago win. The lot includes the former ball boy’s letter of provenance.
Nobody will ever compare the athletic accomplishments of outfielder Michael Jordan with those of basketball deity Michael Jordan, but stint with the Birmingham Barons was historic, if not a runway into Major League Baseball. Anything related to Jordan is collectible, and given the brevity of his baseball career, the demand for lots like these 1994 Michael Jordan Game Worn Birmingham Barons Air Jordan Cleats is considerable – see the pair Heritage sold in May 2020 for $93,000.
The offered shoes come from Ed Smith, a third baseman from the Chicago Cubs’ AA affiliate in Orlando. Smith said that he landed the shoes because he treated Jordan like what he … wasn’t: just another minor leaguer. Winning these shoes also means winning the letter from the consignor, as well as three photos of the consignor with Jordan.
Jordan retired for a second time in 1999, ending his career on a high note just after the official end of a labor dispute between NBA players and team owners. Many people saw him as the greatest basketball player ever, and his retirement was called the end of an era. In 2000 Jordan became part-owner and president of basketball operations of the Washington Wizards. This made him only the third African American owner in the NBA. He also gained an ownership stake in the Washington Capitals hockey team. Also in 2000, Jordan celebrated the first year of his $1 million grant program to help teachers make a difference in their schools.
In September 2001, after months of rumors, Jordan announced that he was ending his three-year retirement to play for the Wizards at age thirty-eight. At a news conference to discuss his comeback, he said, "Physically, I know I'm not twenty-five years old, but I feel I can play the game of basketball on the highest level." The Wizards, who had won only nineteen games the season before, improved with the addition of Jordan. After being voted to play in his thirteenth All-Star game (during which he missed a slam dunk), Jordan had the Wizards in the race for the playoffs until suffering a knee injury and missing the last part of the season. He was also distracted in January 2002 when his wife Juanita, whom he married in 1989, filed for divorce. (They have three children.) The next month the divorce was called off. Jordan said he planned to play one more season for the Wizards.
Since joining the Chicago Bulls in 1984, Michael Jordan had yet to win an NBA Championship. He had come bitterly close and yet never managed to pull it off. That was until 1991. Led by Phil Knight, the Chicago Bulls would go onto win the NBA for the first time in decades. On the feet of Michael Jordan were the Air Jordan 6, a sneaker that was immortalised alongside the image of him crying with his father, cradling the trophy.
From here on out, it was Jordan mania. Every kid in the US wanted to score game-winning shots rocking the Air Jordan 6. It was another design that featured all of Hatfield’s knowledge. And just like that, it was almost forgotten about once the introduction of the Air Jordan 7 happened. The Bulls knew what pressure they were under, yet they weren’t phased. Storming to victory again in 1992, Jordan and his teammates made history.
With the winning streak well and truly underway, the Air Jordan 8 would mark one of the greatest sporting achievements of all time: the Threepeat. Jordan had done it. He had won back to back to back NBA Championships. It was something that no one envisioned bar MJ and the Bulls team. And then, very suddenly, things took a sad turn.
1991 Nike Air Jordan VI
This was the last ever shoe to feature the Nike Air logo. It’s also a culturally important sneaker, MJ was wearing the black/infrared colourway when he helped sink the LA Lakers in the NBA finals of 1991, winning his first championship and second Most Valuable Player accolade in the process.
Arriving in 5 original colourways, the VI had updates to the heel tab and reinforcement around the toe area. Hatfield added the first inner bootie to the design, something which would become a regular fixture in later models.
It wouldn’t be a Jordan release without a movie appearance though, would it? This time it was alongside Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’. Classic.
A Brief History of Petra, Jordan
Jordan is by far one of the Levantine region’s most celebrated destinations. It all has started when the rose-city of Petra won as one of the new seven wonders of the world back in 2007. Yet, what makes this magnificent site an international phenomenon, is much more than meets the eye.
Thousands of years ago, between 400 B.C. and 106 A.D., to be precise, the now-abandoned rose-city was thriving as a trading centre and the capital of the glorious Nabateans empire.
For hundreds of year, the buried gem of Jordan was unknown to the West, it was only until a European traveller disguised himself as a Bedouin, and secretly infiltrated the city, that this mystery was revealed to the world.
The Nabateans inhabited Petra since 312 B.C., long before the emergence of the Roman empire. At that time, the Nabateans controlled the trading trail stretched from the West Bank to Jordan to the northern border of the Arabian peninsula, occupying the largest part of the Levantine area, and leaving behind a systemic technologies of transport and irrigation so ahead of their time that they still could be seen in full function today.
Petra is half built, half carved in stone. The awe-inspiring monuments of Petra are cut into cobblestone cliffs and mountains, that show a whole spectrum of colours at the rising and setting of the sun. At the thriving age of the Nabateans rule, Petra has a population soaring over 20,000 inhabitants.
Petra stood tall as the most successful crossroad of trail camel caravans loaded with spices and textiles would pass through to the most distant regions of the Levant and back.
The decay of the rose city started as the Byzantine rule grew stronger, reaching its nadir as the Roman Empire folded the Nabatean page in the history books for good, around A.D. 700.
Today, local Bedouins still inhabit the magnificent city, making their own living by guiding tourists, touring and selling souvenirs at ambiguous sights, such as one in which, legend tells, Moses struck his staff to the ground exploding a water fountain.
Petra still perches the throne of magnificence throughout the pages of history. Although the “Lost City” has been found, yet, it still conceals secrets so deep mankind is yet to discover them.
Jordan History - History
Infrared Vision: A History of the Jordan VI
Infrared Vision: A History of the Jordan VI
After sweeping the defending champion Detroit Pistons in the infamous 1991 Eastern Conference Finals and exorcising the disappointing demons of playoffs past in the process, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls sauntered into the NBA Finals to face off against none other than Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. With Chicago’s biggest bully now in its rear-view mirror, it seemed pre-ordained that this was Jordan’s year to ascend to the NBA’s summit.
After losing Game 1 in disappointing fashion, Jordan refused to lie down, opening Game 2 with an offensive flurry. He poured in 33 points and dished out seven assists, but his most indelible mark on the game (and the series) would be another one of his patented aerial shows.
He received a pass from Cliff Levingston at the free-throw line, blew past Magic and took off. As he was reaching his apex, A.C. Green and Sam Perkins lay beneath him, bracing for a potential meeting at the rim. Jordan, sensing a block attempt from the right, switched the ball from his right hand to his left, in mid-air, before kissing it off the glass with a left handed scoop–a truly unbelievable display of dexterity. Marv Albert’s call of the “spectacular move” would live on in NBA highlight reel tapes for the next three decades. Jordan and the Bulls dominated the game and cruised the rest of the series en route to a 4-1 rout. The coronation had begun.
Jordan’s on-court exploits weren’t the only part of his ever-expanding portfolio to hit the stratosphere, as his sneaker line had already infiltrated pop culture on a massive scale. Buoyed by incredible ad campaigns featuring the likes of Spike Lee, prime placement in movies like Do The Right Thing and TV shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the Jordan III, IV and V had pushed the brand to unforeseen levels of success. Masterminded by the genius Tinker Hatfield, by 1991, he was now faced with the unenviable task of making hit after hit. And he did just that.
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Jordan VI "Black/Infrared" (1991)
The Jordan VI originally released in 1991 for $125 and dropped in five original colorways: White/Infrared, Black/Infrared, Maroon, Sport Blue and Carmine. Jordan debuted the Black/Infrared colorway during the 1991 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, where MJ led all scorers with 26 points. From that point on, Jordan and the Bulls were off to the races.
Car design would eventually go on to play a huge role in the inspiration of many Jordans over the ensuing decades, but that motif originated with the VI, specifically Jordan’s German sports car. Tinker even went so far as to nickname the shoe’s rubber heel tab a “spoiler,” and when you look at it, you can see why. With the exception of the Carmines, all of the original colorways sport a fairly monochromatic look with matching accents along the midsole and in subtle branding hits. The “Carmines”, however, feature a two-toned approach, with bright red paneling throughout a white upper.
“Michael actually started influencing more design power over the process, and I was cool with that,” said Hatfield in an interview with ESPN. “He started feeling like his signature look shouldn’t have a [toe] tip. He was wearing dress shoes at the time that had a cleaner toe and a molded toe.”
The sneakers do indeed sport a clean toe, as well as a neoprene booty on a full-grain leather upper. Molded Durabuck was added to some colorways for durability and lightweight flexibility, while perforated paneling added breathability on those trademark flights to the basket. Jordan had complained about sometimes struggling to pull on his sneakers with previous models, so Hatfield added an exaggerated rubber pull-on tongue for easy entry and a lace pocket to prevent any interference on the court. The Air unit is once again visible in the heel, with matching cushions in the front of the shoe.
Like the III, IV and V before it, the VI would feature both Nike Air and Jumpman logos, however the VI would be the last Air Jordan model to feature visible Nike Air branding. The following year, the Jordan VII would usher in a completely new era for the Jumpman, effectively branching off from Nike, at least in terms of outward branding. Jordan Brand wouldn’t become an official subsidiary of Nike until 1997.
It took nine years for Jordan Brand to begin releasing retro versions of the Jordan VI, with the first wave of retros featuring the “Black/Infrared” pair, undeniably the most popular VI to ever exist and a pair which Jordan dominated the 1991 playoffs in. Also released during that 2000 run of drops was a “White/Navy” pair, as well as the popular “Olympic” colorway, which featured a white and navy scheme in the “Carmine” color blocking, and was released shortly after the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney (where they were worn by Ray Allen). Low-top versions of the VI began to permeate sneaker shops in 2002, with “Black/Silver”, “White/University Blue” and a “White/Pink” women’s colorway being the first to drop the top on the VI. This entire wave of retros from 2000 on would feature a Jumpman logo by the heel, replacing the Nike Air branding. This would remain the norm for well over a decade.
But the next big moment for the VI wouldn’t happen until 2006, as the silhouette was put on ice for a few years. In 2006, Jordan Brand released its “Defining Moments Pack,” which featured a “Black/Gold” version of the Jordan VI alongside a modified “Concord” XI with metallic gold accents. The pack was designed to commemorate the two sneakers Jordan wore during the first year of each of his three-peats, with these pairs representing the shoes he wore during both the 1991 and 1996 NBA Finals, respectively. The “Defining Moments Pack” VI received its own solo release in 2020, the first time that particular colorway hit the market by itself, and the first time it's been released at all since the DMP dropped in 2006.
The “Carmine” pair would see its first retro release in 2008 as a part of the Jordan Brand Countdown Pack, paired alongside a black Jordan XVII. The pair would become one of the more popular Countdown Packs, thanks in large part to the “Carmines” returning. The “Carmines” would resurface again in 2014 and will see yet another retro release in 2021, this time with all the original trimmings, including Nike Air branding on the heel for the first time since 1991. A perfect way to celebrate the silhouette’s 30th anniversary.
Gatorade x Jordan VI "Green Suede"
Jordan Brand would continue to roll out retros throughout the 2000s, especially at the turn of the decade when the sneaker (and other similar Jordan retros) were having a moment in pop culture, thanks in large part to Kanye West and others. Arguably the most influential man in fashion and music at the time, West was routinely photographed wearing “Black/Infrared” Jordan VIs and even wore them during 2011’s “Otis” video from the Watch the Throne album. Capitalizing on this moment, Jordan Brand would re-release the original Infrared pairs in 2010 (both black and white) albeit with a twist. The bright Infrared would be replaced by a more traditional Team Red color for two 2010 releases, a small yet earth-shattering change to sneaker purists. Jordan Brand would return to its OG ways later that year, when it released both colorways in the original Infrared trim for its “Infrared Pack,” which also happened to be the first time the “White/Infrared” pair received a retro release. They’ve attempted to stick to that original Infrared hue with every ensuing release since then. When Jordan Brand released the “Black/Infrared” pair in 2019, it was accompanied by the Nike Air branding for the first time since its original release in 1991.
While much is made about the Infrared and “Carmine” pairs (and rightfully so), the “Maroon” colorway went the longest between releases. Following its original 1991 release, the “Maroon” colorway was shelved for 24 years before its 2015 retro release. The “Sport Blue” colorway went through a similarly long hibernation, sitting in the Nike archives for 23 years before a 2014 retro version hit shelves.
Like most Air Jordans in the canon, the true legacy and power of the Jordan VI lies in its original, Jordan-worn colorways. With the exception of the “Defining Moments Pack” VI, “Olympic” VI and a few other colorways like the “UNC”, the Jordan VI will be remembered for its original five versions. However, the VI has been featured in collaborations with everyone from Gatorade, Paris Saint-Germain, the University of Oregon and Doernbecher, among others, over the last two decades. Despite its expanding reach, the VI has remained relatively underrated to the average hypebeast consumer until very recently.
Only in the last handful of years has the silhouette become a destination for hype and high-profile collaborations. The VI received a remix from Aleali May, with a Millenial Pink colorway in 2019. The international stylist who is perhaps best known in sneaker circles for her silver and black take on the Jordan I in 2017, May took on the VI two years later with the dulled pink tonal upper and bright crimson accents.
Even Travis Scott, Nike’s current go-to guy, took to the Jordan VI in 2019 for an Olive version of the iconic shoe. He debuted the kicks during the Super Bowl Halftime Show, however they wouldn’t see an official release until October. Scott’s version featured a glow-in-the-dark outsole, a snap pocket by the ankle and Cactus Jack branding on the heel, not to mention a commercial featuring former Jordan Brand athlete and iconic wide receiver, Randy Moss.
When the Jordan VI initially released in 1991, Nike equipped it with its signature classic commercials and print ads. The VI marked the last time Jordan would collaborate with Spike Lee’s Mars Blackmon character on television ads, marking the end of a legendary run for the duo. For the Jordan VI spots, Mars was joined by a genie (played by rock and roll legend Little Richard) granting Mars’ wish to fly like Mike and gifting him a collection of Air Jordans. In addition, there was a Jordan VI “Flight School” commercial featuring Mars and a host of NBA players (Chris Mullin, John Salley and others) who wanted to learn to–what else–be like Mike.
In addition to the commercials, Nike also equipped the Jordan VI with accompanying print ads/billboards, like this matching Flight School ad and another which featured prominently at the Portland Airport.
While Kanye and others breathed new life into the Jordan VI at the end of the 2000s and beginning of the 2010s, it was an unlikely sneakerhead who kept the Jordan VI front and center on television during the shoe’s initial 1991 run: Jerry Seinfeld.
Seinfeld has had a well-documented relationship with clean sneakers and often wore a slew of new Nike’s during Seinfeld’s epic run in the 1990s. The Jordan VI was a favorite of his then and remains so now. Even his friend and Seinfeld co-creator Larry David has been spotted wearing Jordan VIs over the years.
One of the really cool pieces of pop culture trivia regarding the Jordan VI is that the sneaker actually appeared in Batman Returns. Michael Keaton’s version of Batman rocked an all-black pair of custom VIs, which featured matching armor attached to the top of the shoes. They didn’t garner the same screen time as the Jordan IV (Do The Right Thing) or Jordan XIII (He Got Game), but none of those other silhouettes hold the distinction of being Batman’s shoes.
By 1991, the Air Jordan line had already ascended to the apex of sports, fashion and pop culture. From a design standpoint, the Jordan VI didn’t so much as blaze a trail as it carried the torch. It took a thriving line and kept it moving in the right direction, thanks to a tried and true combination of innovation, style and on-court excellence.