In the sneaker world, terms like “iconic” and “GOAT” are tossed around a lot these days. Name an Air Jordan shoe from the `80s or `90s, and there will usually be a cadre of hardcore fans who will argue that it is the greatest Jordan of all time. There is one model, however, that stands out above the rest; a model so timeless, so classic, so smooth that sneakerheads of all ages tend to agree that it is most definitely the GOAT. That model is the Air Jordan 3 “Black Cement.” It’s a shoe that the man himself, Michael Jordan, only laced up once in the NBA — and it wasn’t even a regular-season game. MJ broke out the Black Cements for the 1988 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 7, 1988 – held appropriately enough in Chicago. In front of 18,403 fans, MJ dazzled the home crowd with 40 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals.
The Air Jordan line turned the basketball world upside down when it debuted in 1985. Over 30 years later, Jordans continue to be some of the world’s most sought-after shoes, delivering the perfect combination of innovative performance and street-worthy style.
Eastbay has been there every step of the way, from the introduction of the iconic AJ 1 to the hottest Jordans being released today. We combed through our archives, finding classic AJs that were showcased in the Eastbay magazine throughout the years. Eastbay has been your Jordan Retro Destination since 1985, when the AJ 1 graced our cover.
Check out some of our throwback magazines that featured famous Jordans and click here to see our huge selection of Retros available now.
A Look Back
1985 was the first time Air Jordans appeared in our catalog, thanks to the Retro 1 on this cover.
November of 1994 saw the debut of the soon-to-be-legendary Air Jordan 10.
FLIP FOR MORE
Michael Jordan’s 1987-1988 campaign will go down as one of the best individual NBA seasons in league history. Though his first championship ring was three seasons away, Michael launched a statistical assault on the rest of the league, separating himself from his peers in the process. Jordan laid claim to virtually every accolade possible during the season, including League MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, All-Star Game MVP, Scoring Champion, Steals Leader, 1st Team All-NBA and 1st Team All-Defense.
The way Michael was redefining the way we looked at basketball as a sport, he was doing the same with basketball footwear. Along with perhaps the greatest sneaker designer of all time, Tinker Hatfield, Jordan and Nike launched the Air Jordan III during the same season. The shoe featured revolutionary concepts, like Visible Air, elephant print and the first public appearance of the Jumpman logo. To help market the Air Jordan III to the public, Nike called on Michael’s good friend and film director Spike Lee, who reprised his She’s Gotta Have It role as Mars Blackmon for the advertisement campaign.
The most well-known Jordan memory created while wearing the Air Jordan III is also one of the defining moments of his career. Looking to repeat as the NBA Slam Dunk Champion, Michael took the floor against dunk nemesis Dominique Wilkins at the Old Chicago Stadium during All-Star Weekend in 1988. The two athletic juggernauts squared off, matching each other dunk for dunk until they eliminated the “competition.” In the finals, Dominique took a lead after two dunks, setting the stage for a final dunk showdown between the two.
With Michael needing to post a big score, he reached into his bag of tricks for a dunk he attempted in the previous year’s contest – the free-throw-line dunk. Though he had done the dunk before, Michael felt he could add enough flair to put it over the top, and that’s exactly what he did. On his second attempt, Michael ran down the court, took off from the free throw line, cocked the ball back in mid air and kicked his legs out, completing the best-looking free throw dunk the world had seen at that time. With Wilkins’ final dunk only scoring a 45, Michael was able to seal the deal on a second-straight Slam Dunk Title.
The shoes Jordan wore for the ’88 Dunk Contest were the “Cement” Air Jordan IIIs, which will make a return to retail a week from tomorrow for the first time since 2003. Perhaps the single most iconic sneaker in the entire Jordan line, the shoe features tumbled white leather, signature cement grey elephant print, a black midsole, and red detailing on the tongue and inner liner. This year’s version will come almost exactly the same way the Air Jordan III came in 1988 – with cement-printed box and paper, orange hang-tag and tech booklet.
To celebrate the return of the Air Jordan III, Sole Shots has captured some of the best “Cement” Air Jordan III photography from members of the Sole Collector Forum and beyond. Be sure to leave a comment and let the photographers know how you feel about their work below.
Pat Lauder aka quickster, Gilroy, California
Andre Aranez aka FINESSE, Southern California
Jerek Hollender aka jmh97213, Oregon
joegon103, Northern Miami
JHONNYC410, Queens, New York
If you’re interested in submitting your photos for Sole Shots, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and location with your submissions. You also have the option of providing us with a link to your online photo album or website to link back to when we post your work. You do not have to be a registered member of Sole Collector to participate.
01/22/2011 Air Jordan Retro 3
136064-105 White/Fire Red-Cement Grey-Black