Ask someone from my generation about Space Jam and their eyes will light up. It’s a definitive movie for every warm-blooded sports fan born in the 1980s. The premise behind it was simple enough that everyone could love it: Bring together two icons from different worlds and let them save the basketball universe. And for the Michael Jordan fans, especially the young ones? It was iconic.
The November 15, 1996 original release of the movie nearly coincided with the start of that year’s NBA season, and Jordan and his Chicago Bulls were coming off one of the greatest seasons ever submitted in team sports. Space Jam became a victory lap, the final climax for a period that saw Mike set the world afire by coming back from baseball before ultimately reclaiming his place atop the basketball hierarchy. It also cemented the relationship between the Jordan Brand and Warner Bros., between MJ and Bugs Bunny. It catered to basketball fans of all ages, and it helped take Jordan from the basketball-playing god of his first go-around–pre-first retirement–to a worldwide icon capable of connecting with anyone.
Space Jam is a big moment in the history of sneaker culture. So within the first edition of Sneaker Theater, we’re naturally taking a look at one of the most memorable flicks ever, at least for sneakerheads. And all of that starts with the Air Jordan XI, probably the most memorable sneaker Michael Jordan, Tinker Hatfield, and Nike ever made. This movie helped create a shoe phenomenon that resulted in one of the most hyped silhouettes ever.
If you’re going to talk sneakers in movies, Space Jam is a great place to start. See why.
Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney
image via Warner Bros./Getty Images