The world was turned upside down when Michael Jordan decided to retire from the sport of basketball in 1993. He was the face of the NBA; a symbol of the game. MJ had just closed out the Phoenix Suns to complete his first three-peat, it was unfathomable that he would call it quits at that point — he’d bested all of his biggest rivals and was still at his peak. But that’s what happened. And it was awful.
After this unexpected announcement, we were forced to endure Jordan’s terrible foray into minor league baseball. It was hard to watch. Really hard. And then on March 18, 1995, his Airness made everything right with two simple words: “I’m Back.” This statement was exactly what we needed, and his comeback proved to be well-worth the wait. However, it did take Jordan a bit to get his stride back. But when he did, it was as if he’d never left.
That game took place on March 28 at the mecca that is Madison Square Garden, in what was referred to as the “Double-nickel game.” MJ, wearing his Air Jordan X’s, lit up the Knicks for 55 points, and put the rest of the league on notice: Jordan was officially back. Last year, to honor the occasion, the Jordan Brand decided to release the Air Jordan X Remastered “Double Nickel” on the celebrated date. Just past the 21st anniversary of that historic game, we were caught thinking about the Double Nickels, and our favorite Jordans, so let’s celebrate the seven best Air Jordan shoes of all time.
7. Air Jordan VI
The Air Jordan VI has to make the list because they were the kicks Jordan sported when he took home his first NBA Championship in 1991. This sneaker is a very cool high-top with a dark black tone, bright red areas, and mini air bubbles. But the defining feature, they say, is the two-sided rubber tongue which made it easier to slip these bad boys on. MJ was certainly ahead of the curve.
6. Air Jordan II
The reason people wanted to “Be Like Mike” was because they’d never witnessed anyone soar through the air quite like he did. These shoes were released right after MJ’s second season in the NBA, and he was wearing them when he won his first Slam Dunk crown. They also stand out because they were the first Nike sneaker that didn’t feature the swoosh logo.
5. Air Jordan I
There’s nothing quite like the original, and these sneakers were absolute game changers. Jordan wore these shoes in his first-ever NBA game and broke the rules each time he put them on after that. The NBA had a uniform policy that forbid players from wearing shoes that weren’t white. The Air Jordan I‘s clearly violate that regulation. Jordan was fined $5,000 each time he wore these in an NBA game. Why should his Airness fit in, when he was born to stand out? Fine by us.
4. Air Jordan XII
The Air Jordan XII was a basketball player’s dream shoe. Not only was the two tone color extremely appealing to the eye, but sneaker itself was constructed to be light-weight and provide quick lateral responsiveness. But if the gold-plated lace loops don’t do it for you, then just remember that MJ used these sneakers during his legendary flu game. Yeah, now we know you want them.
3. Air Jordan XIII
When Michael Jordan retired from the Chicago Bulls for the second time, at least he went out on top. He also wore these sneakers during that final season. The Air Jordan XIII was designed to imitate MJ’s predatory nature on the basketball court. They also provide incredible cushioning, and feature a super cool hologram. But we’ll always love them because of this moment.
2. Air Jordan III
The Air Jordan III‘s are Michael Jordan’s favorite sneaker out of the whole bunch. Some things that make these shoes so special are that they were the first one designed by Tinker Hatfield, and they introduced the world to “Mars Blackmon.” Also these were the first Air Jordans to feature the iconic Jumpman logo. We’re all about the historical factor.
1. Air Jordan XI
The Air Jordan XI is the classiest sneaker in the whole collection. These shoes were worn by Jordan during his first full-season after returning from his unexpected retirement. They are also the first sneaker in history to showcase patent leather. The Air Jordan XI is stylish, shiny, and extremely memorable. We absolutely love this shoe. The Air Jordan never looked so good.
All information courtesy of Air Jordan Shoes HQ.