Growing up in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area, the epicenter of sports and fashion, it was instilled in me early on to be presentable and fashionable. As a kid in the early/mid 1990’s fashion when it came to athletics was summed up by one surname: Jordan. Every winter when the new J’s would drop, you had to get your hands on a pair. Many a winter, I missed out due to my parent’s reluctance to feed into the peer pressure that engulfs many of us at a young age. Then the blizzard of 1996 changed all of that. I was in the 1st Grade, my dad had surprised my mother, older brother and myself by popping up out of nowhere in the middle of the night; he was teaching at the University of Michigan at the time and left us in New Jersey to finish our school year.
As the blizzard died down, my dad took my brother and myself to Woodbridge Center Mall to do a little shopping. Our first stop was the old World Foot Locker, a mega sized Foot Locker that had every shoe imaginable. The wall with the Air Maxes grabbed my brothers attention, but I was unimpressed. I almost broke down into tears as I couldn’t seem to find a shoe that satisfied my 7-year old aesthetic needs. And then it happened, I fell in love with the prettiest White and Black sneakers I had ever seen, the Jordan XI Concords. That very moment changed everything for me. My dad just had to get me a pair, which he did. Unknowingly, he had set me on the path to becoming a “Sneakerhead”.
The XI’s had been released in November of 1995 to great public scrutiny. The general public however would quickly put these shoes on a pedestal way above any other Air Jordan before or after. Could it be the way that patent leather wraps around the shoe so perfectly? Or the icy blue bottom? Ah, It’s gotta be the fact that Jordan’s Bulls would go on to win 72 Games and the championship with Jordan killing the competition in these beauties.
There are many firsts we all experience in life, some we remember vividly, and some we wish we could erase from our mental databases. I however, will never forget my first ever Pair of Air Jordans. For that reason alone, the XI will always be my favorite Jordan.
Happy 52nd Birthday, Michael Jeffrey Jordan