10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Air Jordan 13

  • 1. MJ actually did wear them during the ’98 Finals

    Because of the presence of the “Last Shot” XIV, everyone just assumes that Mike rocked that sneaker throughout the NBA Finals in 1998. Not true. In fact, he actually went back and forth between the two sneakers, playing in a startling three different shoes through six games against Utah.

    MJ rocked the “Bred” XIII for Games 1 and 2 in Utah, his away sneaker during the “Last Dance” playoff run before switching to the XIV for Games 3 and 4 back home. For Game 5, he even pulled out the “Playoff” XIII, the black-based home colorway he’d used for the postseason. That would be the last time he ever wore a XIII in a Chicago uniform.

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  • Air Jordan 13

    Jordan Brand

    2. The hologram is meant to mimic a panther’s eye

    The XIII gets major bonus points for being the first — and the only — Air Jordan to ever pull this off: the hologram. Mimicking a black panther’s green-doused eyes, these gave the sneaker an almost predatory feel from the start, and whether you were in the dark or not didn’t matter because the shoes still looked fresh.

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  • Black panther

    Peter Hopper/Flickr Creative Commons

    3. Tinker Hatfield did not know the black cat was one of MJ’s favorite nicknames

    Many of Jordan’s closest friends gave him the “Black Cat” nickname, which in turn made many question whether this was a direct collaboration between Tinker and MJ. Turns out, Hatfield says he didn’t even know, and that his stream of consciousness design cues turned out to be just a coincidence. It doesn’t really matter to us: Either way this shoe is legendary.

    image via Peter Hopper/Flickr Creative Commons

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  • 4. The best pair of XIIIs weren’t made for MJ

    To celebrate Ray Allen breaking the all-time NBA three-point record in these kicks, Jordan officially released one of the illest PE sneakers we’ve ever seen. At the time, Allen was playing for the Celtics, so the white and forest green look is appropriate. It’s now become a grail sneaker for countless collectors out there.

    Allen has history with the XIII, too. He Got Game helped launch the XIII into rare air.

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  • 5. Jordan wore two different colorways in the playoffs

    During home games, MJ took the court in all-black: black socks and the dope, nearly all-black version of the XIII that he also rocked in the ’98 NBA All-Star Game. On the road, Jordan played off Chicago’s red uniforms with the “bred” edition. Both shoes are among the most underrated sneakers from JB.

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  • Air Jordan 13

    Jordan Brand

    6. The outsole is designed to look like a panther’s paw

    In a continuation of the panther inspiration, Tinker and the designers created an outsole that almost perfectly mimics the base of the cat’s paw, securing pressure points along the surface. The best outsole on a Jordan sneaker? It’s certainly in the argument.

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  • SLAM
    7. SLAM put him on the cover not once but twice wearing the XIII

    SLAM was still in its adolescent years but it definitely made the right choice by throwing up two covers with Jordan in two separate colorways of the Jordan XIII. These two shoes also happened to be the ones that he wore in the playoffs. Two classics mag covers right here.

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    Jordan Brand

    8. It brought back 3M material

    The XIII brought back 3M material for the first time since the IX. After experiencing success with the flamboyant 3M tongue on the Jordan V, Tinker Hatfield wanted to get even flashier and make MJ standout more under the strobe lights and camera flashes. The original XIII looked amazing under camera lenses and it worked so well for the shoe that JB actually recently brought it back on this year’s “Reflective Silver” release in early October.

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  • 9. Last shoe to debut with MJ still in Chicago

    Michael Jordan retired for the second time after the ’97-98 season, marking this sneaker as his final shoe to officially debut with Jordan still in Chicago. The XIV, even though he wore it at times in the NBA Finals, didn’t officially release until the man was already retired.

    By this point, Jordan was making the transition to the business side of the game, something that came through in the XIII’s ad campaign.

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  • Jordan Brand
    10. Introduced the Jordan Brand

    This sneaker introduced the gray Jordan-branded box and officially separated JB from Nike. It was a big step, and something that had been in the works for a while, a decade to be exact. David Falk had actually been pushing for it since the very beginning. This move allowed Jordan to release trainers and team shoes for the first time ever.

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  • Michael Jordan
  • Air Jordan 13
  • Black panther
  • Michael Jordan
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  • SLAM
  • Air Jordan 13
  • Michael Jordan
  • Jordan Brand

The Air Jordan XIII might be a classic, but that doesn’t mean you’ll know everything about it. Sure, Michael Jordan did some incredible things while wearing this shoe, you know, like winning three different MVP awards throughout the season (All-Star Game, NBA, and NBA Finals) and breaking a longtime scoring record held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But when it’s sandwiched in-between a string of legendary shoes — from the XI to the XIV — this one often gets lost in the shuffle.

It’s strange too, considering the awesome inspiration behind it and the way that the culture jumped all over this one, between the He Got Game love and the dope low-top releases that the Jordan Brand released. Also, consider this: This sneaker dropped in Mike’s final year as a Chicago Bull. How the XIII is still underrated I have no idea. It has so many cool aspects that combine to make it one of the greatest shoes of my childhood.

No matter how you feel about the XIII, this weekend’s release at Champs Sports is going to have the fiends bugging out. It’s not exactly a “Bred” colorway, but this sneaker is taking an old classic and flipping it on its head, with an almost entirely black sneaker along with red accents. With the holiday shopping season in full swing, you’ll have a lot of options. You just can’t miss out on this one. To get you prepared and ready to kick that Instagram knowledge once you cop, here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Air Jordan 13.

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