7 Things You Don’t Know About the Air Jordan 7

  • Air Jordan 7

    Jordan Brand

    1. First Air Jordan with no exterior Nike branding

    The Jordan II was the first sneaker without the iconic check but did feature Nike branding on the heel. The VII, however, only featured the Jordan logo on the sneaker’s exterior. Done intentionally by Hatfield, who reportedly felt the Jordan Brand could grow as its own entity, the strictly Jordan branding was a huge moment for the sneaker which would eventually morph into its own brand that currently rules the sneaker world.

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  • Air Jordan 7 Hare

    Jordan Brand

    2. Design inspired by African tribal art

    As the story goes, while Hatfield was brainstorming for design ideas for the VII, he stumbled into a shop and spotted a poster that featured a man playing a guitar shaped like the continent of Africa. Once he bought the poster for $15, Hatfiled used the African art designs on the poster during the design period, which birthed the interesting tribal look of the VII.

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  • Air Jordan 7 Hare
    3. Huarache-inspired design

    Easily one of the most comfortable sneakers in Nike’s history, the Huarache–another Hatfield creation–was used as inspiration for the Jordan VII. The sneaker’s minimal design incorporated the brand new Huarache technology and a neoprene bootie to give the sneaker a comfortable, lightweight feel on the court.

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  • Michael Jordan Bugs Bunny

    Jordan Brand

    4. Crossover appeal

    Teaming up with Bugs Bunny for the “Hare” VII proved to be one of the best marketing schemes ever conjured up by Nike. The partnership helped Jordan sneakers get in front of a younger generation who grew with the athlete and the brand and led to the classic Space Jam flick. The colorway is widely regarded as one of the best Air Jordans ever and has been used on other models of the sneaker–most notably the Jordan I and VIII.

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  • Air Jordan 7 Olympics

    Jordan Brand

    5. Only Air Jordan to feature a number other than 23

    The Dream Team tore through the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and the greatest team ever assembled also featured some of the best footwear to ever hit the court. For Jordan, the games marked the first time the “Olympic” colorway was used on a Jordan sneaker. For the first and only time, the shoe featured a number other than Mike’s seminal 23 as his Team USA number 9 replaced 23 on the heel.

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  • 6. Worn during the "Shrug" game

    In Game 1 of the 1992 Finals against the Blazers, Jordan put on one of the best performances in Finals history. While scoring 35 points in the first half, MJ hit an absurd six 3-pointers and was so impressed with himself that all he could do was shrug as he trotted back down the court after hitting the sixth. Jordan was rocking a pair of Black-Red VIIs during the performance that set the tone for the rest of the series as the Bulls went on to win their second straight championship and MJ took home a second straight Finals MVP award.

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  • Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson
    7. Jordan vs. Jackson

    Jordan’s crossover appeal wasn’t limited to Looney Tunes characters. In ‘92, the best basketball player in the world appeared in the King of Pop’s “Jam” video, rocking a pair of “Bordeaux” VIIs. Playing one-on-one against Michael Jackson, Jordan only boosted the worldwide appeal of his brand by starring in the clip.

    To recap, 1992 saw Jordan lose the exterior Nike branding, team up with Bugs Bunny, win a gold medal at the Olympics as part of the Dream Team, win his second straight NBA Finals and Finals MVP, and appear in a Michael Jackson video. A pivotal year in Jordan Brand’s history.

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  • Air Jordan 7
  • Air Jordan 7 Hare
  • Air Jordan 7 Hare
  • Michael Jordan Bugs Bunny
  • Air Jordan 7 Olympics
  • Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson

Following his first championship in 1991, Michael Jordan’s already impressive career started to reach immortal levels the following season. During the 1991-92 season, Jordan continued his dominance over the basketball world en route to his second straight NBA championship. Averaging 30.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 6.1 assists, Jordan went straight from celebrating a Finals victory to playing, and winning, gold with the Dream Team at the ‘92 Olympics.

The GOAT’s signature sneaker line was coming off a strong performance with the VI debuting the previous season and Tinker Hatfield went back to the drawing board for the Jordan VII. With inspiration coming from pop culture icons, world art and other sneakers already in the Nike rotation, the Jordan VII was one of the most important kicks in Jordan history, and Hatfield helped take Jordan’s brand to a new level with not-so-subtle designs and a bevy of slick colorways. With Jordan becoming a true crossover star thanks to his popular commercials and appearances in music videos, the Jordan VII became one of the most visible Jordans in the line’s early history.

Along with the celebrated “Hare,” “Black/True Red,” “Olympic,” and “Cardinal” colorways, Nike also released a “Bordeaux” edition of the sneaker that remains one of the best Jordan colorways to hit the streets, and it just so happens to be dropping at Champs Sports this weekend. Debuted at the ‘92 All-Star Game, the “Bordeaux” was retroed in 2011 and was one of the more popular Jordan releases of the year. The sneaker will drop again on July 18 and will likely sell out quick as it is still a coveted colorway.

Before the shoe drops, check out 7 Things You Don’t Know About the Air Jordan 7.

Follow Peter on Twitter at @Peter_M_Walsh

image via Jordan Brand