The History of the Air Jordan 7

True artists look for inspiration everywhere. In the case of Tinker Hatfield, who designed many of the Air Jordan models that still draw a crowd on release day, the idea for the Air Jordan VII came in 1992 while shopping in Portland. He saw an Afropop poster and was moved by its sharp geometric figures and bold colors. Hatfield convinced the shop owner to sell it to him, took the poster home, and then lifted some of the West African influences into the design and blocking on the Air Jordan VII.

Michael Jordan wore this shoe during the dominant 67-15 season on the way to his second straight championship. This Bulls team earned the name the “InvinciBulls” and made history with their regular season thrashing of opponents. Continuing in that championship mold, Jordan wore this model as a member of the “Dream Team,” which he proudly rocked while receiving a well-earned gold medal for an undefeated squad of legendary ballers.

In 1992, the Air Jordan VII released in five colorways, and they were not re-released in retro until a decade later. To advertise the model, Bugs Bunny replaced the Spike Lee character Mars Blackmon as the animated counterpart for the campaign. One light-colored model even carries the nickname “Hare” in homage.

For the first time, the signature shoe moved away from Nike’s swoosh branding, a trend that persisted for subsequent releases. The now-omnipresent Jumpman appears on the collar, and the number 23 on the heel. For the Olympic model, which has since been re-released numerous times, his Olympic number 9 replaces his normal uniform number.

The most famous models include the “Raptor” colorway, which featured the requisite black and red, along with bright hits of purple on the midsole, tongue, and heel tab. The “Bordeaux” rendition has been a collector favorite for years, with its black, gray, and deep maroon upper fused with a colorful tongue that clearly wears the mark of Tinker’s inspiration from African Art. For the “Hare” colorway, apparently inspired by MJ’s favorite cartoon character, Bugs Bunny, the original 1992 release in the white, gray, and red saw a resurgence in popularity in 1996 with the release of Space Jam.

There were a total of five different iterations released that year, followed a decade later with an additional two releases, both of which came out on the same day. One of those releases was the “French Blue” colorway, which will shelves on January 24, this Saturday, at Champs Sports. The French Blue VII will be the second release in the Jordan remastered program, which will use higher quality materials and molds than previous retro editions.

Featuring luxe white tumbled leather, an improved shape, and a slightly altered color pattern on the tongue, this release is meant to showcase the painstaking attempts to make these releases synonymous with quality and heritage. Following the Jordan IV Retro in Columbia/Legend Blue, this remastered Jordan VII will carry a $190 price tag. Keep that date in mind, and check out our gallery of a Jordan model that will see quite a few high profile releases in 2015.

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