5 Reasons Why Everyone Loves the Air Jordan 5

  • 69 points

    This was the sneaker MJ wore during the best individual game of his career.

    On March 28, 1990, literally weeks after the first colorways of the V released to the public, Chicago beat Cleveland in overtime thanks to 69 points and 18 boards from No. 23. It was an amazing performance, especially considering that at one point Jordan reportedly vowed revenge on the crowd after they cheered a hard foul on him. While wearing the original white, red, and black Air Jordan V, MJ torched anyone the Cavs put on him, from Craig Ehlo to Larry Nance.

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  • Air Jordan 5
    Silhouette

    The V will always be one of the most unique Air Jordans ever released, and it was a big change from the well-received III and IV. It featured a higher cut and some aspects no one had ever seen in the line. But above all else, it’s probably the monster, reflective tongue that helps it to standout and makes it a favorite among sneakerheads. The black tongue on the original “Fire Red” pair is as good as anything I’ve ever seen on a shoe and when I copped the 2006 retro, it immediately became one of my favorite pairs in my rotation.

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  • Air Jordan 5
    The Grapes

    The “Grape” V is one of the most beloved and cherished MJ sneakers ever, and also owns one of the highest unofficial “grail status” rates. As the only original Jordan V colorway to never be worn by Jordan on the court, the “Grapes” found hype through their cultural significance, while also becoming trendsetters for future lifestyle colors. It showed up on Wheaties boxes. It showed up often in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Seinfeld. And it even showed up on a Chris Rock comedy album cover.

    Certainly one of my favorite shoes, the 2006 retro release of the “Grape” V was especially memorable. I still remember going to the store at 10 a.m., only one other sneakerhead in there, copping, and then walking out and back to my school’s campus. Like it was nothing. One of the most incredible sneaker releases I’ve ever had, especially when you compare that to the rest of the country, which was going absolutely mental trying to track down the rare lifestyle release.

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  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    This was a classic television show where the most famous actor — Will Smith — not only went on to global success, but also helped the show connect with the culture at large by consistently wearing some of the most memorable gear and sneakers of that era. Ask anyone today about this show and I bet one of the first things they say is, “Yo, Will was always rocking heat.”

    He was and the Jordan V might’ve made more appearances than any other sneaker, including within the iconic credits song. It was seen so often that they eventually honored the show with a special edition colorway for the V.

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  • Air Jordan 5
    Retro colorways

    From the iconic “Raging Bulls” pack to the “Olive” V from 2006 to recent editions like the “Black Grape” and the glow-in-the-dark “Doernbecher,” the V is one of those rare sneakers that seems to work well with just about any colorway.

    As a sophomore in college in 2006, it felt like there was a new Jordan V retro every single week, and I copped as many of them as I could. It’s interesting to see that some of those — particularly the “Green Beans” — that I somewhat regretted paying $135 for are now considered grails for younger sneakerheads coming up. I can also remember the “Olive” and “Burgundy” colorways sitting on shelves for weeks, sometimes months. Now? The hype for them is real. The lesson, as always, is that the Air Jordan V makes anything look good.

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  • Michael Jordan 69 points Cleveland
  • Air Jordan 5 "Fire Red"
  • Air Jordan 5 "Grape"
  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • Air Jordan 5 "Toro Bravo"

Peeps will always love this sneaker, considering the history and the design, and that’s amazing for a shoe that’s 25 years old.

The Air Jordan V first released from Nike in the spring of 1990, just as Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were gearing up for the playoffs. That year saw them post their best season of the MJ era, winning 55 games and advancing all the way to a Game 7 against Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals. It also saw the coaching debut of Phil Jackson.

While the season would end in heartbreak and migraines — thanks, Scottie — the sneaker that Jordan wore that year was special. The iconic reflective 3M tongue, the midsole teeth, the mesh netting, the lace locks, the V was an undeniable classic and helped complete a trifecta of shoes from Tinker Hatfield — the III-V — that solidified Jordan’s shoes as the best thing on the market. BY FAR.

Since then, we’ve seen the V become the first retro after the turn of the century and later release again in a wide variety of colors, from the 2006 “Green Beans” to the epic 2009 “Raging Bulls” pack. It seems like, no matter what, the silhouette always looks good…maybe not so much with shorts but with pants? It gets no better.

This weekend, one of the original retros is returning at Champs Sports. The “Metallic Silver” colorway is part of the Jordan Brand‘s remastered program for 2015 and figures to blow the rest of the field away in April. Any true sneakerhead needs this sneaker in their rotation. Why? Here are 5 Reasons Why Everyone Loves the Air Jordan 5.

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Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney