Thursday, September 13, 2012

theSNEAKER GAME CRAZE — Chapter One: Air Jordans

Air Jordan 11 (XI) — White/Black-Dark Concord

theSNEAKER GAME CRAZE — Chapter One: Air Jordans

Once upon a time...

   ...I was dating One of Thee Most Fashionable & Stylish Girls Ever...she sported a HUGE brown afro and was one of those "rare" women who looked really "chic n' sexy" w/ a round, nappy-rooted blow-out...she was ahead of her time.

Unfortunately her "mind" game was im·ma·ture. [Low-blow & proud.]

One day, she was looking at my modest sneaker collection (approx. 30-40 kicks which consisted of mostly Nike Air Force 1's, Dunks & Jordans), she commented, 'You know there's other sneakers out there...why don't you think outside the box?'

Today, Nike controls roughly 95% of the U.S. basketball shoe/sneaker market w/ its portfolio of brands that includes Nike, Jordan & Converse. Other than Vans and an occasional Reebox (i.e. Allen Iverson's Question), no other sneaker brand really interests me. I mean –seriously, Nike has so many "different styles" to fill my appetite for collecting kicks & so many "limited editions" to more than satisfy my sneaker/shoe fetish.

Air Jordan 4 (IV) — Black/Cement Grey-Fire Red

In fact, it was the explosion of Air Jordans & its record-breaking sales that spawned the evolution of the sneaker game led by thee most fanatical Jordan sneaker fiends — Jordanheads — Jordan sneaker fanatics revolutionized the shoe/sneaker industry.

Air Jordan 8 (VIII) —  White/Red-Bright Concord-Aqua Tone

Jordanheads were willing to camp outside stores for days & pay astronomical prices for them. Because of this sneaker cult-following, Nike was able to put hefty price tags ($120 - $180 per pair of Nike vs. $20 - $90 per from the competitors) on releasing a new collaborative design; year-after-year for the NBA legend: Michael Jordan Jeremy Lin.

Air Jordan 11 (XI) / Air Jordan 12 (XII) Countdown Package:
Air Jordan 11 (XI) Retro – Black / Varsity Red – White
Air Jordan 12 (XII) Original (OG) – Taxi (White / Black – Taxi)

In 1984, Nike signed Michael Jordan to a 5-year endorsement contract worth a reported $2.5 million (including royalties); which was unheard of at the time. They summoned & eventually enlisted Thee Most Elite Athletic Footwear Designers in Peter Moore & Bruce Kilgore (creator of AF1's) to help launch the 1st two Jordans. 

But it was a corporate architect-turned-footwear-designer: Tinker Hatfield, who literally took Jordans to the next level w/ his combination of advance technology, custom designs and exotic materials.

Please take a looky here:

 Air Jordan 16 (XVI) — Black / Varsity Red | Air Jordan 18 (XVIII) — Black / Royal Blue

The combination of his creative & innovative prowess [Think: panther (XIII), Ferrari (XIV), X-15 fighter plane (XV), Aston Martin (XVII), F-1 race car (XVIII), Bentley Continental GT (XXI)] along w/ Nike's radical/redefining ads and ingenious commercial campaigns [Think: Spike Lee's character Mars Blackmon; Looney Toon characters mainly Bugs Bunny], the success of Air Jordans skyrocketed to the point where demand exceeded supply — as they continued to "sell-out" every re-release to near riot-status.

Air Jordan X — White/Black/Dark Powder Blue

[Note: Air Jordans depicted on this featured blog were the models owned by the blogger.]

Voted the #1 Air Jordans of All-Time — Air Jordan 11 (XI) — Family Set

Air Griffey Max 1
The success Air Jordans paved the way for other athletes to create & sell their own "exclusive/signature" kicks (i.e. Barkley's, Griffey's, Penny's, etc.) The popularity and surge in record sales of these iconic, top-selling sneakers led to a collector's sneaker boom. 

Custom "signature" kicks along w/ releasing & re-releasing "limited edition" sneakers known as "retro" became the culture & fashion craze of the new millennium! People from all walks of life would "camp-out" for days; waiting to cop "limited-edition" pairs of retro-Jordans (which forced stores to limit 2 pairs per customer). 

Most of the avid shoe collectors would either add their golden purchase to their prized sneaker collection or put them on Ebay for double-triple-quadruple times their retail value — in hopes of making a killing. (Generally speaking, drug dealers, would approve of their quick-flip!)

Air Foamposite Penny
The Sneaker Boom of the 80's brought forth Nike, Adidas, Rebook, Converse, Kangeroos, L.A. Gear and countless other brands to the masses — capitalizing on the "new & improved" fashion trend. The cultural phenomena of Air Jordans (led by the vision of then CEO Phil Knight, innovative designs of Tinker Hatfield, and the profound influence of "inner-city" urban kids) revolutionized the athletic footwear industry; as it imploded in the 1990's and never looked back — becoming a multi-billion dollar industry.Today,  brick-and-mortar retail & online sneaker stores nationwide now carry a wide range of function, selections & styles from a vast array of celebs -to- athletes representing a variety of sports.

The Sneaker Game Craze penetrated into all facets of mainstream America; adorned by "high-paid" athletes, covering the feet of both the "high-level" competitors & "non-athletic" chubsters — becoming a trendy, fashion statement. Nike's current CEO Mark Parker continues to assemble together extreme talents –whether they're basketball stars, musicians, tattooists or designers obsessed with sneakers. 

His goals are to, 'increase sales by more than 40%, to $27 billion by 2015; meet a set of equally ambitious sustainability benchmarks; grow earnings 7% a year; and keep 33,000 employees thinking as nimbly as possible.' September 2010 issue of Fast Company

DID YOU KNOW? When Michael Jordan left the University of North Carolina in 1984, he wanted to sign with adidas, not Nike. He was a self-described “adidas nut,” and told his agent that if the deal the German company offered was even close, he’d sign with them. Apparently it wasn’t — concluding biggest loss in sneaker history.

Once upon a time... boys & I all met-up to pre-game (before a close friend's birthday) at my best friend's then studio-apartment in the Upper East. While we were pre-gaming, we were feeling giddy & goofy enough to suggest filming our own "wanna-be" MTV Cribs a.k.a. the Ghetto MTV Cribs in the "walk-in" closest. 

Low-and-behold, our video-taped session featuring Nike's Air Jordans:


[Note: To the average/causal person, you might chuckle or even scratch your noggin' — but to a Jordanhead/Sneakerhead, we couldn't stop laughing for days!']

Although I am an avid-Jordan sneaker-lover, my mini-collection pales in comparison to my circle of friends. In efforts to satisfy the craving of the more intense & knowledgeable Jordan sneaker fiend, I will ask the following Jordanheads to list their Top 5 Favorite Air Jordans...a potentially daunting task.
  • Marcelo P. — Ceelo's unparalleled knowledge of Jordans is exemplary.
  • Michael S. —  Mike is one of the most respected sneaker-heads that I know; more specifically when it comes to fashion n' taste. [Note: He is the said owner of the aforementioned Air Jordan 11 (XI) / Air Jordan 12 (XII) Countdown Package]
  • Richard S. — Rich is one of my closest friends who's from Queens, NY –his sneaker collection may be unmatched in my inner circle.
  • Samantha A. — She is my company's receptionist who has perhaps the most extensive Jordan collection I have ever seen! (Her young son's collection of #23's are 3x more than mine)
  • Dillon C. — Dillon owns some of the most "exclusive" Jordans that I know...what makes his Jordans "exclusive" is the fact that most of his collections are "original" not "retro" — All dead stock "Woo-wee!"

As we patiently wait for their coveted list of Top 5 Favorite Air Jordans, this blog will also feature other "top-selling" Nike brands such as Air Force 1's, Dunks & most recently, the LeBron James sneaker collection — Nike releases its most expensive sneaker ever: The LeBron X Nike Plus [Retailing for $315]

To be continued...


  1. Here's my Air Jordan Top 5 (In no particular order)

    III (Black/Cement)
    VIII (Aqua's)
    XI (Concords & Space Jams)
    VI (Infrared)
    I (Banned)

    **Honorable Mention goes to the IV (White/Cement)**

    -Rich Santos a.k.a. Suburbia Rich

  2. Best Air Jordans in order
    1. XXX3 - The last pair designed by Tinker Hatfield. Everything was quality, from the stitching on side to the sole. One of the most uniquely designed shoes ever.

    2. V - The shoe he wore when he was at his absolute peak in 1990. The first Air Jordan to have a clear sole, and it was designed after a fighter plane.

    3. VIII - The 8's are the only shoe of the original line to feature straps, and has some of the best colorways of all the lines.

    4. XI - The 11's are without a doubt the most recognizable sneaker of all time, and probably the most sought after as well.

    5. XIV - The 14's are designed after a Ferrari, and the sleekest design ever made. The pair he wore for his final shot as a Bull vs the Jazz in the finals.

  3. WOW! Dillon gave Air Jordan XXIII the #1 spot? Bold move. XX3 are super-futuristic (I remember walking into sneakers stores & picking them bad boys up just so I can feel the indestructible & sleek design –felt like it was handcrafted by a robot from outer space) but it felt more like a Jordan shoe than a sneaker and I don't think it was trendy enough for sneakerheads...otherwise, the rest of your picks are pretty much indisputable.

    Ok, I can see that HoodRich...oops...Suburban Rich favors heavily on the older Well, I'm more or less mid-school #1 11's (introduction of patent leather), #2 8's (sick straps), #3 13's (hologram & suction cup bottoms, #4 14's (sleekest design ever -hence Ferrari) & #5 perhaps 3's (showcasing the world renown Nike Air Bubble) I said this is a daunting task and my picks can change depending on my mood & time of day! lol's

  4. The 100 Best Air Jordans of All Time
    by Complex Magazine

    "There are some tasks that probably shouldn't be attempted like ranking the Top 100 Air Jordans of all time..."

    1. Air Jordan III "Black/Cement"
    2. Air Jordan 1 "Black/Red"
    3. Air Jordan XI "Black/Red"
    4. Air Jordan Retro IV "UNDFTD"
    5. Air Jordan III "White/Cement"


"Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart."

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