1998 was a pivotal year for Michael Jordan, the world’s greatest basketball player of all time. The ’97-’98 season would be his final one as a Chicago Bull. He won his sixth and final championship that year over the Utah Jazz and was the League, All-Star, and Finals MVP. While all that was going on, Nike was busy establishing the foundation for Jordan’s next steps after his inevitable second retirement. This involved creating a distinct differentiation between Jordan Brand and Nike.
As a sub-brand of Nike, Jordan Brand’s aim was to be as pure, unique and authentic as Michael himself. The brand would use the Jumpman logo exclusively and made its official retail debut late in 1997. “I have been involved in the design of everything I have worn from Nike since we began our relationship in 1984. The launch of the Jordan Brand is simply an extension of that process,” said Jordan in a 1997 press release. “It is an exciting and challenging opportunity to express myself and connect with the next generation of players. I look forward to being involved in every step of this new venture.”
Each week, we’ll break down the most popular upcoming shoe drops. We’ll give you the lowdown on the prices and sizes, break down the history of the shoe, and give you the scoop on their newest tech features. Check back every week for the hottest releases. If it’s hyped, it’s here. You can check out the full list of releases on Eastbay’s Release Calendar. Here’s what you have to look forward to this weekend:
After surpassing the 400 mark for three-pointers in a season a few days ago, Curry has cemented himself into the NBA record books. But his latest shoe isn’t about basketball — it’s about football. This slick electric blue/steel colorway pays homage to where he grew up (North Carolina) and the football team he cheered for (the Panthers). Men’s $129.99, Grade School $99.99, Preschool $89.99, Toddler $49.99.
Quite possibly the biggest surprise this NBA season — though definitely overshadowed — is the success of the Portland Trail Blazers. Many experts predicted they wouldn’t even manage 20 wins, but they surpassed expectations and are now the 5th seed in the West. This gorgeous grey colorway of the Lillard 2 is Damian’s playoff edition shoe, so he’s geared for a deep run. Are you? Men’s $114.99.
Let your feet breathe and feel free in the Jordan Ultra.Fly — Jordan brand’s newest team shoe. It’s being debuted right now at the Jordan Brand Classic by the best high school players on the planet, and it comes in four fly colors. Men’s $124.99.
As far as Foamposite Pro retros stack up, this Bred colorway is probably the most hyped, as it’s been 15 years since it last hit the shelves. You can cop it in full family sizes on Saturday. Men’s $159.99.
JORDAN RETRO 9 LOW ‘WHITE/BLACK’ – APRIL 16 AT 10 AM ET
This is as classic as it gets: the Chicago colorway is built with black leather, red accents, and a white rubber outsole. It’s much like the last AJ9 Low that dropped, but the color combination is inverted. Catch this instant classic on Saturday. Men’s $169.99, Grade School $119.99, Preschool $74.99, Toddler $54.99.
JORDAN AJ XXX ‘BLACK CAT’ – APRIL 16 AT 10 AM ET
Dressed in black and anthracite, this AJ XXX is named after after MJ’s nickname from his playing days. The orange earth on the tongue gives it a straight-from-space look which meshes well with the dominantly dark colors. Keep an eye out — you’ll definitely see plenty of these on the court during the playoffs. Men’s $199.99.