A nod to global basketball, this Air Jordan 9 Retro features University Blue highlights


Pop quiz, sneakerheads: What signature model is depicted on the feet of the bronze statue of Michael Jordan that stands at the United Center in Chicago?

If you guessed the Air Jordan 9, you’d be correct.

It seems like an unconventional choice, with the benefit of hindsight. Jordan was playing baseball when it was released during the 1993-94 season, so while he had a custom pair of AJ 9 cleats made, he didn’t wear them on the hardwood until the new millennium.

So why immortalize the AJ 9, of all models, on a statue? Well, that was up to Tinker Hatfield.

The legendary designer chose the ninth iteration of the Air Jordan line because its outsole — prominently displayed at eye level when you’re viewing the sculpture — had the strongest storytelling of all prior models.

The AJ 9 features an outsole upon which Hatfield wanted to tell “an international story.” Designer Mark Smith — working on his first Jordan silhouette — incorporated the words “Dedicated, force, intense, freedom, graceful,” and “Sport, independence, freedom, athletic and hope” into the rubber on the right and left shoes in multiple languages, all words which spoke to MJ’s “blueprint for a good life.” The variety of languages represented basketball as a global game.

While the AJ 9 isn’t a model that sees frequent retro releases, we’ve seen a handful hit the market over the past couple of years, most recently January’s Black/White-Racer Blue model.

Now, with college basketball season approaching, Jordan Brand has unveiled a new Air Jordan 9 colorway featuring the familiar University Blue color scheme.

The Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘University Blue’ is a subtle retelling of the silhouette, featuring white leather uppers with black speckled overlays, laces and collars. The namesake University Blue highlights the “23” stitching and Jumpman logos at the heels, tongue and lateral midsoles to cap off a clean and uncluttered design.

Salute the Tar Heels when the Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘University Blue’ drops in Men’s and Big Kids’ sizing on 12/5 at and in stores via mobile app reservation (Men’s sizing only.)

*Click here for a list of stores where Grade School sizing will be available.

How to Purchase

– Available at or in select stores via mobile app reservation on 12/5.

– To enter for a reservation of the Air Jordan 9 Retro ‘University Blue’ in Men’s sizing only, head to our mobile app. Reservations open on Tuesday, November 24 at 10 a.m. EST and will close on Tuesday, December 1 at 1 p.m. EST.

*Status Members, use your Status Points to redeem extra entries to increase your chances of winning.

– Reserved pairs can be picked up in store.

– No pairs will be sold in stores on 12/5, only at

– To adhere to local social distancing guidelines, we suggest picking up your shoes during designated windows of time:

11am-1pm (last names beginning with A – G)

1pm-3pm (last names beginning with H – M)

3pm-5pm (last names beginning with N – T)

5pm-7pm (last names beginning with U – Z)

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