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Written by John Gotty 

Few college basketball teams are more revered than the University of Michigan’s Fab Five. Michigan’s 1991 recruiting class of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson played with a brashness that made an instant impact on college hoops. Their play was matched by the moxie in how they dressed, donning baggy shorts, black sneakers and black socks all by Nike. The young phenoms ran the court with confidence beyond their years. Even though their run was limited to two seasons, the five true freshmen changed the way the college game was played and how players looked.

Their dominance ran parallel with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls first three-peat from 1991-1993. The fact that both entities shared direct connections with Nike gave the brand a combo punch as it came to captivating fans’ attention and focusing it on what the players were wearing. The two driving forces shaped what cool looked like on the court and essential to transforming basketball footwear into a sales juggernaut for decades to come.

Michigan’s trendsetting history on the court stretches back to mid-‘80s with Jordan’s parent company Nike. The school’s hoops squad became one of eight chosen to receive team-issue Dunks as part of the “Be True to Your School” campaign. At the time, the move stood out as it created a color punch over the usual white-based shoes most teams sported. Michigan’s navy and maize, Syracuse’s orange and white and St. John’s red and white Dunks still resonate with buyers. It’s the reason why they’ve seen numerous reissues since the original release.  

Over the years, we’ve seen countless colleges connect with footwear brands for apparel, equipment and footwear partnerships. The Oregon Ducks benefit hugely from being the alma mater of Nike’s Phil Knight. Michael Jordan makes sure athletes at the University of North Carolina stay laced in the finest baby blue kicks and apparel on the planet. Likewise, UNC’s main rival Duke sported illustrious blue-based shoes. And lest we forget Kentucky, another original “Be True” school, whose basketball players have taken the court in both Nike and Jordan signature models over the years.

Each school gets their own unique kicks dipped in bold team colors with branding specific to them. Player exclusive versions gain their desirability since they seldomly launch with limited runs. Sneakerheads immediately started buzzing when North Carolina debuted special Jordans like the ‘Win Like ‘82’ pair during a preseason scrimmage in October 2017. Seeing the shoes first in that setting created an energy which fueled sales when the shoes released to retail a month later. Pairs like the ‘Oregon’ Air Jordan 3s and OVO Jordan 8s made for Kentucky pique the interest of even the most casual observer. While more and more player exclusives have made it to store shelves in recent times, most stay locked away in equipment closets where they’re reserved for student-athletes.

Thankfully, the sneaker gods in Beaverton, Oregon decided to give buyers a slice of the good life by releasing the ‘Michigan’ Air Jordan 12 Retro. The model is rich in history since its the shoe MJ wore for his legendary “Flu Game” performance. The Michigan-specific version bears close resemblance to the PSNY pair reserved for members of the school’s football squad. A supple navy nubuck dresses almost the entire upper save for a few hits of golden yellow on the eyelets, the midfoot TPU and heel tab. The M logo emblazoned on the right tongue is the biggest visual nod to the Wolverines.

Athletes still work as influencers with a strong sway over buyers, particularly youth actively participating in sports. Making special make-ups available for the general public to purchase makes perfect sense for footwear companies. Magical moments made on the court evoke memories marketing money can’t supply. The kids want to wear what they see players wearing on the TV screen and in YouTube highlight clips. They want the jersey, the shorts, the socks, and wristbands, too. And, of course, the shoes.

Of course, most sneaker enthusiasts young and old know their hoop dreams may never materialize into anything larger than that. But it doesn’t mean they still can’t have nice things, like the “Michigan” Jordan 12 Retro.

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Grab your pair of the Air Jordan Retro 12 ‘Michigan’ on June 23rd at Finishline.com. Make sure you check with your local store for more release details.

It’s only right that Jordan Brand celebrates the 20th anniversary of the “Last Shot” by releasing the shoe that MJ was wearing in that iconic moment. Made famous by the shot MJ hit in game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz that propelled his Bulls to another championship victory. Serving as one of the first sneakers in history to have an official nickname devoid of any color affiliation, the Air Jordan 14 “Last Shot” helps tell the story of one of the most significant moments in NBA history. Securing MJ his sixth NBA championship with the Bulls, this iconic moment was both the final Bull’s Field Goal attempt of the game, and Jordan’s last in his Chicago career. Chasing one with 10 seconds on the clock, Jordan shook off Bryon Russell – following a steal of Karl Malone on the defensive end – and put up a 20-foot jumper from the top of key. Hitting nothing but net and giving the Bulls the lead with 5.2 seconds to go, this moment will live forever in NBA lure.

That iconic moment cemented the Air Jordan 14’s status as an all-time classic. Twenty years after MJ’s championship-sealing bucket was scored, the Air Jordan 14 Last Shot is making a triumphant return to its original form. Sporting an aggressive black leather stitched upper, the Air Jordan 14 was inspired by MJ’s love of high speed cars and was designed off the influence of theFerrari F355F1. The influence can be seen on the Jumpman shield that graces the outer panels. Red contrasting side vents served as nods to the Italian carmakers’ fluid mixture of luxury and high performance, two characteristics that became synonymous with the Jordan Brand and MJ’s level of play. The classic luxury car-inspired silhouette features a rich tumbled Black leather upper with Black suede accents. Contrast is provided by Red branding on the heel and the Yellow shield logo on the lateral side of the sneaker. A Red carbon fiber outsole plate completes the shoe’s classic and fast look

Grab your pair of the Air Jordan Retro 14 ‘Last Shot’ on June 14th at Finishline.com. Make sure you check with your local store for more release details.

Whether you plan to rock your 14’s on or off the court, keep them as legendary as Jordan’s last shot by protecting them with ForceField. ForceField’s unique formula not only repels dirt and stains but is the only waterproofer with UV protection to keep colors from fading in the sun.

Keeping things fresh and updated in the sneaker world, Finish Line is spreading some love to Denver, Colorado for our fourth flagship location. We’re excited to see how our latest technology and styles engage with the Mile High City. Interactive screens, shoe-eye-view stations and more will find a home at Finish Line, Park Meadows and we will of course have all the latest sneaker styles available for you to take home.

To get an idea of what ???? is available, check out some of our favorites below.

Air Jordan 1 ‘Shadow’

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Nike Air Max 97 OG ‘Metallic Gold’

adidas UltraBOOST ‘Cookies & Cream’

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Nike Air VaporMax Plus

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Air Jordan 1 Satin ‘Shattered Backboard’

Air Jordan 1 ‘Gold Toe’

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Air Jordan 12 ‘Vachetta Tan’

Air Jordan 3 ‘Black Cement’

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adidas ARKYN

Jordan Retro 2 ‘Melo’

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Make sure you keep it locked on @finishline and @finishlinewomen for more around Denver’s store opening.

#ShoesSoFresh

The birth of the Air Jordan 1 back in 1985 was a pivotal moment for the Swoosh. There’s no doubt that the Air Jordan 1 has transcended its court purpose. In the past few decades, the AJ1 has inspired a plethora of different versions, but even though styles and trends shift, this has always been a sneakerhead staple.

Back in January, Nike debuted The 1 Reimagined collection focused on the AJ1 and AF1. Out of 1,000 designers, there were 14 women chosen to spearhead this project and they were only given two weeks. These 14 women behind the project had a very particular skill set to not only complete the project, but to also blow it out of the water. The goal was to establish new versions of both of the icons and this was when the Rebel XX was created.

The Rebel XX is a progressive sneaker to say the least. The zipper on the medial side is the point of entry while the asymmetrical lacing that wraps across the upper is more of a bold statement for style. The two colorways that drop on 5/19 are must haves as they’re they OG Chicago and Top 3 colorway. The iconic Chicago colorway is the basic essence of AJ1 history with Chicago Red, Black, and White. The Top 3 colorway is a fusion of 3 infamous colorways of the AJ1. It’s got DNA from the ‘Royal’, ‘Chicago’, and ‘Banned’ colorways.

 

These are the ultimate mashup of heritage, style, and function. Get them in-store or online at Finishline.com on Saturday, May 19th.

And they say Chi City! What originally started as a leaked sample hitting the social waves from Frank Cooker back in August of 2017 has turned into a movement that honors MJ and the city he spent most of his career in. The sneaker blends together two of the most iconic colorways to ever bless the sneaker world and now you get the best of both worlds on one pair of kicks.

This Air Jordan 1 is made of up two different Retro 1s, as weird as that sounds. Split down the middle from the tongue all the way down to the toe-box and down the heel, the Jordan 1 ‘Banned’ and ‘Chicago’ become one. Created as a tribute to the city where Michael Jordan cemented himself as a legend, the Air Jordan 1 ‘Homage To Home’ features the famed ‘Banned’ and ‘Chicago’ colorways welded together lengthwise for one of the most unique Air Jordan 1 creations we’ve ever seen.

If you’re a diehard Jordan fan who cops all classic kicks that honor him or Chicago, then you’re definitely going to want to add these to your collection.

The wait is almost over, if these are on your radar then you can grab your pair of the Air Jordan Retro 1 High OG NRG ‘Homage to Home ’ on May 19th at Finishline.com with Free Shipping. Make sure you check with your local store for more release details.

What started as a player exclusive for one of Jordan Brands first athletes, Derek Anderson, evolved into something that went beyond the hardwood and became a symbol for so many. While Anderson was playing for the Portland Trailblazers he broke out a pair of Air Jordan 3’s that were similar to the ‘White Cement’ colorway, but had red on the heel strip instead of black. Many people would never have guessed back in 2003 that those Jordans would soon become symbolic of something that was much bigger than basketball. Fast forward to August 2006 and the country is preparing to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina ripped through Louisiana and many other southern states. As the clean up began and the storm dissipated, the alarming realization that the damage done was beyond anything that could have been predicted, and companies and organizations around the country joined the relief efforts. Jordan Brand donated select shoes from their archives to be auctioned off and put the funds toward the rebuild of the cities effected. The collection consisted of sneakers that had been worn by MJ but the one that stuck out the most was a Jordan 3 that came in a different colorway that Jordan have never worn. After that, the sneaker community had dubbed the sneaker that Air Jordan 3 ‘Katrina’ and the name symbolized a movement that meant something to millions of people.

In celebration of Michael Jordan being inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, a special “Become Legendary” collection of Air Jordans was curated to be displayed in Springfield, MA. Once again, the ‘White and Red’ Air Jordan 3 was included amongst classic colorways. Having never been released to the public before, Jordan Brand is now bringing this shoe out of the history books and memorial halls to the general public. Colored in a classic White and Red theme, the sneaker mixes the popular Air Jordan 3 ‘Fire Red’ and ‘Cement’ colorways and will feature the classic Jumpman logo on the heel. Like you’ve seen before, the classic ‘Cement’ detailing is applied on the toe and heel areas to complete the design altogether.

Make sure you add this piece of history to your collection. Grab the Air Jordan Retro 3 ‘Hall Of Fame’ on May 12th at Finishline.com

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It’s been two years since Jordan Brand dropped a Retro 1 High that paid homage to a moment in MJ’s history and it came in traditional style with some not so traditional colors. If you need a little history lesson on the ‘Shattered Backboard’ colorway, the inspiration behind it came from the uniform colors worn by MJ in 1986 when he shattered a glass backboard while dunking in an Italian exhibition game. For the lucky ones who were able to get their hands on a pair back when they released have to attribute their love of the shoe to the quality that was put into it. If you’ve been itching for more pairs that come with that same quality, then the wait is almost over.

2018 has been huge in the Jordan realm as they have been putting a lot of energy and focus behind the female consumer, after all, the future is female. Now, JB is bringing some insane heat to the streets for the ladies that most guys will be jealous of. Plush materials like satin and tumbled premium leather come together to create the Women’s Air Jordan Retro 1 High Satin ‘Shattered Backboard’. The only other Jordan 1’s to get the satin treatment are the ‘Bred’ and ‘Royal’ colorway that dropped in very limited numbers last year. With the focus being on women for this style, these are a certified banger for any outfit that you put together. This new-age classic features the same color-blocking and high-quality tumbled leather materials while adding the attractive satin finish on the toe-box, heel, and ankle collar sets the bar very high for future projects.

If these are on your radar then you can grab your pair of the Women’s Air Jordan Retro 1 High Satin ‘Shattered Backboard’ on May 5th at Finishline.com.

Jordan Brand has been bodying 2018 like MJ on Muggsy Bogues in the ’90s and they seem to be taking it up a notch just to make everyone notice. They’ve brought back classics like the ‘Black Cement’ 3, ‘Shadow’ 1 and 10, ‘Altitude’13s and more and now they chopping the top on the ‘Cool Grey’ Retro 11. Just in time for summer, the ‘Cool Grey’ Jordan 11 Low is perfect for any ‘fit and occasion when you plan on stepping out. You may remember that the internet went crazy back in 2013 when MJ was spotted in a pair, and sneakerheads thought they were going to be blessed that year. While it only took five years for those hopes to become a reality for sneaker lovers, the time has finally come.

Now, Jordan is taking one of the most popular designs in their prestigious history and dropping the top on a low version of the classic that is just what your rotation needs for summer. The Air Jordan XI ‘Cool Grey’ sits high in the ranks all-time greats in the sneaker world so it’s only right that they give you a low-top pair to compliment your OG pair. You’ll notice this low-top version features a a two-tone grey upper made of nubuck and patent leather overlays which is different from past releases that featured a mesh upper. Contrasting white laces, a matching midsole and an icy blue translucent outsole completes the design altogether in a truly perfect way.

Make sure you pick up the Air Jordan Retro 11 Low ‘Cool Grey’ on April 28th at Finishline.com.

Written by John Gotty 

The Jordan X exists in a very unusual space in the history of the signature series. The model, originally released in 1995, had the misfortune of preceding the widely popular XIs. But even bigger than that, it came to be during a time when Michael Jordan retired from basketball and tried his hand at professional baseball. Without help from the shoe’s namesake, Tinker Hatfield had to conjure up a shoe designed for Jordan while knowing Mike might never actually play in the kicks. The end product became a living testimony to Mike’s career up to that point.

The X sported remarkably clean lines, a fitting inner sleeve and a speed lacing system, all the hallmarks of a solid performance shoe. The model was also the first in the series to utilize a lightweight Phylon midsole. More importantly, one of the most notable features of the model emerged in the sole.

Hatfield used it to tell the story of Money, the man who reshaped the NBA’s image with his style of play and accomplishments during his first tenure in Chicago. The alternating stripes on the outsole have quick facts from Jordan’s playing career etched in them. Career landmarks like his Rookie of the Year nod and references to his three-peat as MVP and NBA champ with the Bulls in 1991, 1992 and 1993. There were even nods to mythical moments like when he delivered 63 points against the Celtics in ’86 and scorched the Cavaliers for 69 in the 1990 playoffs.

Except MJ reportedly wasn’t down with one particular design element.

When it first released in late 1994, the model’s first colorway, the white/steel grey iteration, included an extra leather overlay around the toecap. As legend has it, Jordan wasn’t a fan of the look since he historically favored a clean toebox, as seen on the VI, VII and VIII. Nike couldn’t recall the Steel Grey Xs since they were already in the hands of retailers. However, they were able to make the change for the remaining colorways yet to come. And, of course, it made the shoe ready for wear once MJ subsequently returned to the sport on March 18, 1995.

What seemed like a frivolous design change became a missing element most old collectors pine for with reissues. It’s likely not many of them will actually play ball in the shoes and want to protect the toebox from scuffs. They simply want it present in order to consider the retro a one-to-one of the original. It always seems a bit odd considering Michael Jordan never played in this version. In fact, the only time he ever wore them on the court was during Scottie Pippen’s Ameritech All Star Classic at Chicago Stadium in October 1995, a game in which he scored 52 points. But, small moments and narrative strands like that are enough to make legends, which the Steel Greys has grown to become.

The Steels are far from the only version steeped in history. The X released in eight initial colorways, the most ever for a Jordan at that time. Five of them released with a connecting theme in what was known as the City Series. The pack served as a precursor to the strategic marketing and releases we see today. The drop featured five different variations of the model only available in select areas across across the U.S. – Chicago, New York, Orlando, Sacramento and Seattle – each one with vibrant accent colors as nods to the respective cities’ pro basketball franchises. The scarcity factor have always made this particular collection one purists searched far and wide for over the years.

Image Via: Nike

Nike also selected multiple players to wear the shoes on court. Guys like Kendall Gill of the then Seattle Supersonics, Hubert Davis of the New York Knicks and MJ’s personal foil Nick Anderson of Orlando Magic lore were tapped to wear the city-specific pairs in an effort that preceded the concept of Jordan Brand athletes. The move resonated with fans and sneakerheads alike as each design spoke to the players’ respective team colors.

His Airness and teammate Scottie Pippen wore the customary red colorway, of course. Harold Minor, nicknamed “Baby Jordan” for his ferocious dunking ability, donned the Red X’s as well since the color scheme worked well with the Miami Heat uniform. Mitch Richmond’s Sac-Town version of the shoe may seem tame now but, at the time, purple wasn’t a widely used color combo for basketball kicks. And Richmond’s black/purple “Home” pair had an air of royalty, making it one of the most revered Jordan colorways ever. Although they weren’t dubbed Player Exclusives, the shoes that emerged from City Pack carry that distinction for people who actually saw the aforementioned hoopers putting in work while wearing them. It’s all part of what drives the narrative of the model to this day.

Which brings us to the latest reissue of the X, the return of the OG Shadow colorway. Arriving 23 years after the original release, the 2018 pair may be the closest to the 1995 version that we’ve seen to date. Sure, the iteration included in 2008’s Countdown Pack was very solid. But it also featured a “23” on the ankle collar that perhaps only the man himself could pull off confidently. Also, the sockliner on those utilized a black and white checkerboard pattern that was a bit much in comparison to the more neutral look of black and dark gray of the first issue.

The 2018 Shadows wear a material mix of soft suede for the upper and tumbled leather on the mudguard, heel and eyelets that looks lovely. Then, the attention to details send the new version over the top. The reversed Jumpman logo on the heel matches the first iteration, a wrinkle only history buffs may note. Jordan Brand even reverted to using the same box from back in the day. It’s one of those little extras that thrills heads who are always seeking the most accurate version of an original.

In retrospect, the story could have panned out much differently. Jordan could have left the game for good in 1993. Odds are his legacy would still include him as one of the most celebrated athletes to ever take the court. And, had Hatfield and Nike decided to end his signature sneaker series at 10, the Jordan X would’ve been a bookend to a line of shoes that changed the sneaker game. Had Jordan’s career truly ended at the time, there couldn’t have been a more perfect shoe for the send-off.

Make sure you grab your pair of the Air Jordan Retro 10 ‘Shadow’ on April 2oth at Finishline.com.

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