He came on the scene as a champion – having won an NCAA title at North Carolina – and left the game with more rings than he could fit on one hand. So ingrained is success in Michael Jordan’s fabric that, even years after his 2003 retirement, he continues to wield powerful influence on style.
It all began with the Air Jordan that debuted in 1985 and spawned a long, continuing line of premium footwear. Many Jordan Brand models take their inspiration from on-court models worn by the man himself, while some still keep an eye on the courts of today.
Jordan Brand signature athletes include established stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Blake Griffin, and promising up-and-comers such as Joe Johnson of Brooklyn, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Charlotte. Jordan’s influence reaches off the hardwood as well. It includes baseball stars Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, and C.C. Sabathia, and gridiron greats Michael Crabtree and Andre Johnson.
Over the years, Jordan Brand has released not only reissues of classic Air Jordans but also mash-ups that paid tribute to great moments in MJ’s career.
The “Sixty” sneakers – such as the Classic Sixty and the Sixty Plus – paid homage to the five occasions on which Jordan dropped sixty points on an opponent. (He is one of just four players to have done so multiple times, and one of just two to have done so in the playoffs.) These shoes pull elements from the four styles of J’s he wore to accomplish that feat; the AJ 1, 2, 5, and 7.
The 6 Rings shoe draws elements from the seven shoes he wore while compiling six championships in Chicago: the AJ 6-8 and 11-14.
Perhaps the best known of these collaborative models are the Spiz’ike and the Son of Mars. Both are references to Jordan’s relationship with filmmaker Spike Lee, who reprised his Mars Blackmon character – from his 1986 film “She’s Gotta Have It” – for a series of commercials in the late 1980s and early ’90s. The Spiz’ike, released in October 2006, draws from the Air Jordan 3-6, and the 9 and 20. Fewer than 5,000 pairs were made of the original release.
Following on that success was the Son of Mars. Released in the summer of 2012, it drew from the same models as did the Spiz’ike, minus the AJ 9. The Son of Mars featured a wide midfoot strap imprinted with catch-phrases from the renowned Mars Blackmon commercials.
Jordan Brand’s clothing may be as recognizable as its shoes. The flying Jumpman logo features prominently on myriad t-shirts, hoodies, tanks, shorts, pants, and even Dri-Fit performance socks.
While you can mix and match according to whichever colorway of Jordan shoe you choose, many tie directly to specific Jordan Retro models, reflecting some of the design elements of those particular shoes.