14 Things You Didn’t Know About the Air Jordan 14

  • Ferrari F50

    CarSpotter/Flickr Creative Commons

    1. The Design Is Based on One of MJ’s Ferraris

    Jordan’s car obsession has never been much of a secret, and longtime designer Tinker Hatfield incorporated a very specific model into his design of the XIV. Allegedly based off of a Ferrari that MJ owned, this shoe merges automotive royalty with the king of basketball sneakers from the Ferrari-style side logo to the mesh vents.

    image via CarSpotter/Flickr Creative Commons

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  • Air Jordan 14

    Jordan Brand

    2. There are 14 Jumpman Logos To Match the Name

    Attention to detail has always been a point of strength for Jordan Brand–this shoe was no different. Seven Jumpman logos can be found on each sneaker, corresponding with its place in the Air timeline.

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  • Air Jordan 14 Michael Jordan 1998 NBA Finals

    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    3. Jordan Wore Them In Chicago’s ’98 Finals, Game 3 Blowout

    Most people know Jordan wore them in his iconic final game as a Bull, but Jordan actually mixed XIVs in earlier in Chicago’s Finals tussle with Utah. He premiered them in the third game back home in Chicago, a victory that saw the Jazz set a record for fewest points in a shot-clock era Finals game.

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  • Air Jordan 14
    4. … And Game 4 of the ’98 Finals

    Jordan’s second outing in the 14 didn’t go quite as well as the first, but it was a successful evening all the same. With a second consecutive victory in Chicago, the Bulls looked primed to take the series on their home court. One small problem…

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  • Michael Jordan 1998 NBA Finals Game 5 Air Jordan 13

    Fernando Medina/Getty Images

    5. He Switched Back to the Playoff XIIIs in the Finals, And Promptly Lost

    When people say you shouldn’t mess with a winning formula, perhaps they look at what happened to Jordan when he switched out of his sneakers mid-series. After back-to-back wins in the XIV, Jordan had his worst performance of the ’98 Finals upon switching back to his XIIIs for the fifth game. We won’t say it caused him to shoot 9-for-26, but it certainly didn’t do him any favors.

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  • Air Jordan 14

    @seanesweeney

    6. First Jordan Shoe With Metal Lace Tips

    While the practice has become more common since their release, the XIVs broke ground for Jordan Brand when they became the first pair of Air Jordan shoes to come standard with metal shoelace tips. Not everyone cares for the look, but it’s a point in their favor in the versatility and durability departments.

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  • Air Jordan 14 White Red Black
    7. Only Three of the Eight O.G. Colorways Have Been Retroed – So Far

    Despite the demand for the XIV, JB has kept many of the original release colorways under lock and key. To date, only three of the original eight have been retroed for public consumption, with sneakerheads still pining for colorways like the Indiglo.

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  • Air Jordan 14 Light Graphite
    8. New Releases Have Been Among Jordan’s Wildest Originals

    JB is typically associated with consistency and excellence, much like their namesake. But new XIV releases have featured some of the line’s most daring designs, such as the Light Graphite release in ’05. Featuring an all-suede upper and neon accents, they were almost unrecognizable compared to the rugged look of the originals.

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  • Air Jordan 14 Low Laney Dez Bryant

    @dezbryant

    9. They Were Dez Bryant’s First-Ever Jordan

    Dallas’ big-money wideout recently revealed that the XIV (specifically the “Laney” Low) was the first pair he ever wore growing up. Considering their ’99 release window, that would put Dez around 11 years old when he first strapped on a pair of J’s. You never forget your first pair.

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  • Michael Jordan crying first championship

    James Evans

    10. Their Commercial Took Us Back Through Time

    Jordan’s selling point may have been telling people they could be Like Mike, but in the spot for the XIV, he attempted to show us how he became Mike. The minute-long spot took us all on a trip through just a few of the memorable moments in MJ’s basketball life.

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  • Air Jordan 14 UNC PE
    11. They Have One of the Rarest PEs In The Line

    One of the perks of playing for Michael Jordan’s alma mater is access to his sneakers. Much to the surprise of sneakerheads, a UNC player edition of the XIV saw a limited release in 2000. If you can get your hand on a pair of those bad boys, we salute you.

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  • Air Jordan 14 CDP
    12. A 2008 Release Was Based On the Bulls Pinstripe Jerseys

    The Bulls black pinstripe jerseys had less influence on JB design thanks to their status as third jerseys, but that trend was bucked with a special package in 2008. The Air Jordan 14/9 Collezione “Countdown” Package introduced a brand new colorway based on the secondary uniforms of Jordan’s former Chicago squad.

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  • Air Jordan 14 PE Reggie Miller

    @dependablejay

    13. One of Jordan’s On-Court Rivals Had His Own PE

    While he was busy trying to dethrone Jordan and climb the Eastern Conference summit, Reggie Miller was getting hooked up with slick PEs on the side. That includes this awesome pair of the XIV, which features Miller’s own No. 31 on the tongue.

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  • Michael Jordan the last shot utah

    James Evans

    14. They Almost Never Got Their Iconic Moment

    What better way to help a sneaker’s launch than to shine in them in Game 6 of the Finals? Had the Bulls been able to finish the Jazz in Game 5–and they got 30 from Toni Kukoc, how didn’t they?!–he never gets to attach their likeness to history for a worldwide audience. Do we remember the “Last Shot” colorway the same if the “Last Shot” never happens?

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  • Ferrari F50
  • Air Jordan 14 "Ferrari"
  • Air Jordan 14 Michael Jordan 1998 NBA Finals
  • Air Jordan 14
  • Michael Jordan 1998 NBA Finals Game 5 Air Jordan 13
  • Air Jordan 14
  • Air Jordan 14 White Red Black
  • Air Jordan 14 Light Graphite
  • Air Jordan 14 Low Laney Dez Bryant
  • Michael Jordan crying first championship
  • Air Jordan 14 UNC PE
  • Air Jordan 14 CDP
  • Air Jordan 14 PE Reggie Miller
  • Michael Jordan the last shot utah

Michael Jordan’s career arc can most easily be read by following the releases in his signature shoe line. From the original Air Jordan 1–adorned by the brash, high-flying rookie–to the XIs on his feet while he dunked on aliens in Space Jam, the sneakers call to mind memories of his feats while wearing the shoe.

That’s a major reason why people show up in droves to buy retro re-releases of his classic shoes–it’s a bit like unearthing a time capsule and transporting yourself back to when MJ was tearing up the hardwood. Feeling “Like Mike” continues to be a big selling point for hoop heads.

Memory of the Jordan XIV is a tad bittersweet, as their original release coincided with MJ’s final exit from the Bulls. If you were a fan of a team who fell victim to the Bulls buzz-saw in the ’90s, perhaps this is a good thing, but for most hoops enthusiasts, it was sad to see the game’s brightest star fade into the background.

Unlike Mike, though, the XIV is primed and ready for a comeback. Next up on the release docket at Champs Sports is a Jordan Retro XIV Low, coming this Saturday in a clean Blue/Yellow/Black “Laney” colorway. We recommend grabbing a pair of these if you have the money to spare–or if you couldn’t get the XIVs we told you about in September.

In case you need a little extra shove in the right direction, we dug up some of the history of the shoe so you can feel informed about your investment. These are 14 Things You Didn’t Know About the Air Jordan 14.

Follow Kyle on Twitter at @kyleneubeck

image via Jordan Brand