This Saturday’s retro release of the Air Jordan III “Fire Red” got me thinking about IIIs. The title says it all, so I’m jumping right in.
- Sport Inspired – The reason we fall in love with shoes is because of the great accomplishments athletes had while wearing them. Well, at least my generation. Some of today’s enthusiasts weren’t old enough to see Mike jump from the foul line and win the dunk contest in 1988. Michael Jordan in the air, stretched out, and flying to the rim was such an iconic sight that Nike created a logo that depicted it, all while the Air Jordan III was laced up on his feet.
- Elephant Print – The elephant print has been put to use for the last 25 years without getting played out. It’s on NikeIDs, Dunks, Air Maxes, Air Force 1s, and countless other Nike models. But, with the elephant print’s subtle presence on the toe box and mud guard up against tumbled leather, the Air Jordan III wears the elephant print to perfection; just enough to make the shoe pop without interfering with the clean, classic look.
- Tinker Hatfield – You may argue this entire article. You may disagree just for the sake of debate. You may even be able to get your Johnny Cochran on with the best of us and turn believers into doubters. Still, you still cannot challenge the legacy of Tinker. Fact: the Jordan III was the first basketball classic, of many classics, designed by the greatest sneaker designer of all time, who designed shoes for the greatest basketball player of all time. Sometimes people cross paths at just the right time in their lives…Tinker and Mike did that, and we are the beneficiaries of that legacy.
Mike didn’t know when he jumped from the foul line that it was going to be an iconic moment. Tinker didn’t know that Nike would use elephant print on almost every classic Nike silhouette. And Nike didn’t know that 25 years after the Air Jordan III, people would be jumping through all kinds of hoops to get a pair.
I don’t see how there could be a case made that any sneaker in history tops the Air Jordan III, but if you do, leave a comment.