7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Air Jordan 5

  • Air Jordan 5 Metallic Silver
    The reflective tongue was for the strobe and arena lights

    Not only was the Jordan V’s reflective 3M material used for the first time ever on a basketball sneaker, it was used for somewhat of a weird purpose. Apparently, Tinker Hatfield wanted a shoe that would catch under the arena and strobe lights, turning Jordan’s feet into flashy kicks that played off his burgeoning celebrity.

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  • Air Jordan 5 Bin 23
    Mike's choice in shoelaces inspired a classic colorway

    Released in February of 2011, this particular sneaker was favored right from the start, considering no Air Jordan V had ever outfitted the upper entirely in high quality leather. There was also the black-stitched 23 on the side and even a special BIN 23 red wax seal on the heel. But you know what really stood out? The shoelaces.

    A former Cincinnati walk-on Alex Meacham was asked to provide insight into the release of the extremely limited Premio BIN 23. As an obsessed MJ collector ever since he was 12 years old, Meacham recalled a playoff game in 1990 between Chicago and Milwaukee when Mike switched in white laces for a different flavor on the Air Jordan V.

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  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
    No sneaker made more appearances on The Fresh Prince

    Okay, so this isn’t technically a fact. It might as well be, though, considering how often Will Smith was stunting on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in everything from the Grapes to the originals. The sneaker even made an appearance during the iconic credits song to start each episode.

    So you can see why it only made sense that when JB wanted to honor the show’s role in promoting the sneakers’ influence, they did it by releasing a special edition “Bel Air” colorway for the Jordan V.

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  • Michael Jordan 69 points Cleveland
    MJ had his best game ever in these shoes

    No, it wasn’t the 63-point game against the Celtics in the playoffs. It wasn’t during the 1993 NBA Finals when he hung 40 points per game on the Suns and good friend, Charles Barkley. It didn’t have anything to do with the Detroit Bad Boys, either. It came during a random regular season game against the Cavs in the spring of 1990.

    Wearing the white originals in Cleveland, MJ didn’t just have 69 points. He also had 18 boards, six assists, and four steals in a four-point win. Less well known is the fact that Jordan got angry at the crowd after they cheered early in the game when he was on the floor recovering from a hard foul from John Williams. So, in a sense, Cleveland fans created this performance. Nice work, people.

    Jordan got so hot that he told defender Craig Ehlo, “Listen man, I’m hitting everything, so I’m gonna tell you what I’m gonna do this time and see if you can stop it. You know you can’t stop it. You know you can’t stop this. You can’t guard me.

    “I’m gonna catch it on the left elbow, and then I’m gonna drive to the left to the baseline, and then I’m gonna pull up and shoot my fadeaway.”

    He made it, of course.

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  • Air Jordan 5 Grape
    The Grapes were the only original V Mike never wore on the court

    Jordan wore three of four initial colorways on the court that year, not lacing up the Grapes for obvious reasons concerning the team’s uniform colors. As one of the first lifestyle releases to ever come from this signature line, Nike worked hard to make the shoe count. They saw it take off with the aforementioned Fresh Prince of Bel-Air TV show. They had Mike wear them on the cover of a Wheaties box. Even Chris Rock wore them on the cover of his album.

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  • Air Jordan 5
    Multiple colorways are some of the rarest Air Jordans ever

    Releasing just a few months apart from one another in 2011, the “Tokyo 23” and “Quai 54” retro releases for the Jordan V are two of the rarest Jordans to ever hit the market. The “Quai 54” was meant to honor MJ’s summer basketball tournament and only dropped in Europe while the “Tokyo 23” was exclusive to Japan.

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  • Air Jordan 5
    "23" patch started as an MJ exclusive

    That famous “23” patch that you’ll find on most Air Jordan V retros? That began as an exclusive for Michael Jordan before the powers that be added it to the products releasing to the public.

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  • Air Jordan 5 Metallic Silver
  • Air Jordan 5 Bin 23
  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • Michael Jordan 69 points Cleveland
  • Air Jordan 5 Grape
  • Air Jordan 5 "Quai 54"
  • Air Jordan 5 "Metallic Silver"

For a sneaker so loved by just about everyone within the sneaker community, the Air Jordan V is often overshadowed by its more famous brothers. It’s surrounded by classics. The Air Jordan VI was the sneaker Michael Jordan wore when he won his very first NBA championship, and the Infrared colorway is considered one of the 5-7 greatest sneakers ever in the signature line. The Air Jordan IV and III were both classics that not only saved the Air Jordan line, they did things no basketball sneakers had ever done before, pushing the shoes toward all-time status.

The Air Jordan V? It was a step in the right direction for both the player and the brand, but Mike didn’t win a title in it and the sneaker’s most defining characteristic — becoming the first basketball sneaker to ever use reflective 3M technology — is something that’s developed sort of a love/hate relationship with the sneaker culture due to its rampant use at times over the last few years.

However, the one thing the V has going for it is that it’s arguably the most safe Air Jordan, in the sense that no matter what colorway JB decides to release, it always comes out looking fresh. Very rarely will you see a pair come out and not draw interest. One of the few times I saw that happen was during the sneaker’s big 2006-07 run. Both the Olive and Burgundy colorways sat on shelves for weeks…and yet now they’re considered two of the sneaker’s best colorways ever.

This weekend, we’ll be seeing the new “Midnight Navy” colorway of the Air Jordan V dropping at Champs Sports. We’re betting you’re planning to cop but if you don’t know your history, you’ll just look stupid.

Here are the 7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Air Jordan 5.

BUY NOW: ChampsSports.com

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney