By Drew Hammell
2016 was another huge year for Jordan Brand retro releases. With seemingly no end in sight, Jordan continues to bring back classic silhouettes in both original and new colorways. Inspired by the popular “Best Nine” hashtag, here’s a look back at the top nine releases of 2016.
9. Air Jordan 14 “Oxidized Green” – Release Date: 7.16.16
This was the first time the Oxidized Green colorway retro’d , and it was highly slept on. The main reasons include the fact that Jordan never wore this version on court, and the colors cannot be tied to any team he ever played for. Regardless, it looks great on foot and is an outstanding performance sneaker on the court as well.
8. Air Jordan 12 “The Master” – Release Date: 2.27.16
While the “Flu Game” 12s returned in 2016 and certainly were popular, a fresh version of the 12 was quite intriguing. Inspired by a poster of MJ dribbling in the Air Jordan 12 “Taxi,” this new colorway was an instant classic and sold out quickly. The sleek look of the all-black leather with subtle white tabs and gold eyelets made this model stylish on and off the court.
7. Air Jordan 11 “Space Jam” – Release Date: 12.10.16
Perhaps the most-hyped release of the year, and with good reason. Jordan Brand traditionally releases an AJ 11 model a week or two before Christmas. Sneakerheads young and old raved about the quality on this one – the patent leather is the identical shape as the original, along with the return of the thin white trim that was missing from earlier “Space Jam” retros.
6. Air Jordan 9 “OG” – Release Date: 12.3.16
The sneaker Michael never wore in an NBA game with the Bulls returned for the holidays, mostly to tie in with the return of the Air Jordan 11 “Space Jam.” Younger sneakerheads started calling these “Space Jams” as well, since Jordan wore them in the movie before switching to the more popular 11s. Older heads would rally against that moniker, though.
5. Air Jordan 8 “Champagne” – Release Date: 6.25.16
Commemorating the Bulls’ first three-peat, the “Champagne” was decked out in white with gold trim to symbolize the Larry O’Brien championship trophy. Jordan wore the AJ 8 during that third title run. Since the “Champagne” colorway was fresh and in limited supply, it sold out quickly.
4. Air Jordan 5 “Black Metallic” – Release Date: 7.23.16
Another classic, also with “Nike Air” on the heel instead of the Jumpman. For whatever reason, this retro didn’t fly off of shelves as quick as some would have expected but the dedicated Jordan lovers had no problem getting their pair. Maybe it was the fact that they didn’t have a ‘23’ on the side, like the ones Jordan primarily wore. Or maybe the fact that it was a black shoe that released in the middle of the summer kept some people away.
3. Air Jordan 4 “White Cement” – Release Date: 2.13.16
The return of a classic – complete with OG “Nike Air” branding on the heel instead of the Jumpman logo made this a must-have for most sneakerheads.
2. Air Jordan 3 “True Blue” – Release Date: 11.25.16
The “TBs” hold a special place in a lot of sneakerheads’ hearts because both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant wore them on the NBA hardwood. Michael sported them during his time with the Washington Wizards, and Kobe wore them while he was a sneaker free agent in 2003.
1. Air Jordan 1 “Bred” – Release Date: 9.3.16
There were plenty of popular AJ 1 releases in 2016, but the return of the classic “Bred” colorway dominated the headlines as expected. Along with the original “Banned” commercial and print ads, Nike paired the AJ 1 with the launch of the new Air Jordan 31 and held a huge party in Las Vegas to unveil the newest shoe along with the return of the 1s.
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