2. It's gotta be the shoes
Air Jordans have played a part in many of this generation’s favorite movies, including the cult classic, He Got Game. But it arguably all started with Spike Lee‘s Do the Right Thing flick from 1989. In one scene, a character named Buggin’ Out — the same guy who would later go on to play Gus Fring from Breaking Bad — got his new White/Cement Air Jordan IVs scuffed up by a biker wearing a Larry Bird jersey.
The scene is a major part of sneaker history, as a sort of successor to the Mars Blackmon character from an earlier Lee joint, who’d go on to star in many commercials beside Jordan and his sneakers. Some of the best ones from that campaign were for the Jordan IV, including this ad where Lee continuously pointed out what you, the consumer, can and can’t do.
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1. The Shot
Up until his final seasons in the NBA with the Bulls, this was arguably Jordan’s finest moment, the shot that vaulted him beyond mere superstar status to icon. That season the Bulls had sputtered to a 47-35 record, taking a step back after winning their first playoff series of the MJ era the prior year. The Cavs had also won all six games against the Bulls that regular season, including the final game where they even rested their starters, probably the most embarrassing moment for the Bulls all season.
However, with the season on the line in Game 5 in Cleveland, Jordan came through. He double-clutched, rose over Craig Ehlo, and canned the J that sent the Bulls to the second round. Nothing was ever the same again. (Sidenote: In Game 4, Jordan missed two of four crucial free throws to lose the game. He called it one of the lowest points of his professional career. If he doesn’t make this shot, MJ goes down as the series goat.)
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The Air Jordan IV is universally considered one of Michael Jordan‘s best sneakers ever. It followed up an undeniable classic in the III and somehow kept the train right on going. It featured some of the best technological advancements ever found in a basketball shoe at the time. And it was involved in some of MJ’s best moments ever.
Whenever the sneaker retros, like it will this weekend at Champs Sports in a remastered version of the classic “Oreo” colorway, it’s not a matter of if people will buy it. It’s only a matter of how quickly it’ll sell out. With this particular colorway, that’s doubly true.
Designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield, the IV features the updated Jumpman logo with the word “Flight” on the tongue. The shoe also introduced nubuck leather and mesh for the first time in the Jordan line while borrowing some of the best parts of the Air Jordan III — the mid-cut, the sculpted midsole, the visible Air unit, and padded tongue and collar. The shoe wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, as Hatfield took inspiration from MJ’s tremendous work ethic. At the time, Jordan had just become a father so he was trying to juggle a number of different responsibilities for the first time. That had a profound effect on Nike and the designers.
You’re going to look good no matter what if you rock the Jordan IV. But sometimes that’s not enough. Everyone wants to know the history behind their kicks. You should too. In anticipation of this weekend’s hyped release, here are Michael Jordan’s 4 Greatest Moments in the Air Jordan 4.
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