#1 – AIR JORDAN XI – SPACE JAM
Occasionally in the sneaker world, everything aligns and falls into place just right to create an instantly classic shoe. The Air Jordan XI was already a smash sucess as soon as it hit shelves during the 1995-96 NBA season, but when the playoffs came around, Michael turned a lot of heads by breaking out a new blacked-out colorway with his comeback number 45 on the heel. When Mike took to the silver screen in 1996 for the movie Space Jam, the minds of Air Jordan aficionados were officially further blown at the sight of the mysterious XI’s on MJ’s feet. The shoes were dubbed the Space Jams by awed admirers and sported a sleek all black upper with a clean white midsole and clear outsole, giving the already ultra-stylish design its slickest look yet. The tendency to lust after what we can’t have immediately kicked in and the shoe became one of the most feverishly desired models in Air Jordan history. Four long years later, in 2000, Jordan Brand brought in the new millennium in style, releasing the Space Jam edition of the Air Jordan XI’s for the first time ever.
Jordan collectors were overjoyed to finally get their hands on such a long sought-after treasure, but as with any anticipated release, stock went fast and there were plenty of folks that never got themselves a pair. As a result, scores of Jordanheads have spent the nine years since trying to track down deadstock pairs in their size, often paying
absurd resale rates for some Space Jams of their own. Rumors of a Retro release swirled around for years, but it was this July that prayers were answered and an official November drop was finally confirmed. Immediately after the news broke, the beloved Space Jams instantly became one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the last decade. In the months that followed, more and more images of the Retro versions began to pop up, and to everyone’s delight, they seemed to be true to their original form in seemingly every way, a big relief considering some of the modifications that have recently been made to some other re-released classics.
Recognizing that the Retro release of the Space Jams was a pretty big deal, Jordan decided to step up the packaging game, boxing the new Space Jams up in a special collector’s box complete with matching blue plastic toe inserts. While the shoes may have finally just dropped last week, plenty of sneakerheads determined not to miss out grabbed theirs early for a little extra cash. They hit stores last Wednesday and were nearly impossible to find for box price by mid day. In fact, the high volume of would-be purchasers actually crashed several major retail sites, and in Georgia, there were even multiple Foot Locker break-ins. No one was sure how many pairs would actually hit retail, so people were not playing with this one. The lines were formed and favors were called in, and by Christmas morning, there were a lot us who woke up knowing that nothing we’d receive this year would top the present we already bought for ourselves two days earlier.