Throwback Thursday: "The Air Jordan XI Incident"

MJ (in test pair Concord XIs) over Penny Hardaway and former teammate Horace Grant

The Air Jordan XI may be one of the most controversial and iconic sneakers ever to be released in history. I don't think anyone can argue with that.

Tinker Hatfield took on the task of removing all stops and designing, yet another revolutionary Air Jordan shoe that, this time celebrated his full comeback. The design itself consisted of materials never before seen on a basketball court - patent leather. It was paired with a mesh upper, then dropped on a phylon midsole on top of a clear outsole and herringbone traction. A full length air unit and carbon spring plate were added for cushioning and stability, and finally, the Air Jordan XI was issued for construction of a test pair.

MJ became the unofficial test pilot for it's preliminary wearings when specifically told not to wear them, but who can resist really? Going from Shadow X's to Concord XI's? Why the hell not?! But like the "black-toe" and "bred" 1s, issues have begun to arrise regarding the colorways of the sneaker and the leagues uniform policy.

Not only did the Air Jordan XI NOT use any red, the uppers were white and black using, the now-famous dark concord as accents. Uniform policy for the Bulls required the team to wear primarily black shoes. The league warned MJ for not complying to the rules and was forced to go on to the rest second round of the '95 finals in something else.

To prevent any further trouble by the league, MJ, much to everyone's surprise, busted out Pennys for one game of the playoffs. Yep, Pennys. Before Penny became the sole ambassador for the Foamposite, he wore a number of Nike's kicks, one them being the Air Flight One. Rumor has it that, Hardaway lent MJ a pair from his personal stash to use for the game. MJ, now wearing "23" from "45", cut Penny's "1" heel tab off of the pair before the start of the game.

MJ rocking Penny's Air Flight One

For the rest of the series, up until the the loss to the Magic (whome became an EC power house after MJ's retirement with Shaq and Penny running the floor), MJ rocked the Air Jordan XI in black/white. Only a handful of pairs were made for the playoffs and for the Space Jam movie, which was filmed and released a year later.

MJ (wearing black/white Jordan XI's) on Penny Hardaway (wearing his Air Flight One)

In 1995-1996, Michael Jordan returned, clinching his 4th ring with a 72-10 record with the Bulls. 3 Jordan XI mids and 2 IE lows were released at a retail price of $125. In those 3 mids, included the original White/Black- Dark Concord colorway.

MJ (wearing "bred" Jordan XIs) on "The Glove" (pre-Zoom Hawk Flight)

MJ in All-Star Air Jordan XIs aka "Columbias"

Because of the hype and controversy of the Air Jordan XI, they were retroed in 2000/2001 (along with Cool Greys and a line of lows) with the same retail tag of $125.

F to B: DMP, '01 Concord, '01 Concord, '01 Jams, '01 Jams, '09 Jams, '09 Jams, '01 Bred, CDP Bred, '01 Columbia, 25th Anniversary

A shot of the personal stash to pay tribute to my favorite shoe of all time.


1 comment:

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