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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.

When it comes to Jordan Brand and their prestigious history of colorways and story telling, the ‘Last Shot’ theme is up there in the ranks. 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. The Black and Red colorway that was featured on the Jordan XIV that Jordan was wearing when he nailed that jump shot is now taking over the Air Jordan XXXII Low. To further that homage, the Jumpman is taking the signature midfoot decal of the 14 and putting it on the tongue of the Air Jordan XXXII Low in yellow. Keeping that honorary trend going, is a date on the inside of that tongue that pays tribute to that date the Bulls won their sixth ring. This Air Jordan 32 features the Ferrari-style Jumpman branding on the tongue, textured leather on the heels featuring the wings logo, and red Jumpman branding on the midsole to top it all off.

Celebrate Jordans historic legacy when you grab your pair of the Air Jordan XXXII Low ‘Last Shot’ on June 9th at Finishline.com.

The iconic Jordan 1 Rebel XX OG is back! This time around we’ll be releasing the popular kicks at Finish Line Del Amo Los Angeles, Finish Line Roosevelt New York and on the app. Both colorways from the first release will be available, so start planning your outfits accordingly.

This Saturday, 6/2 at 2pm PT/ 5pm ET you can get your pair of the Jordan 1 Rebel XX OG at two flagship locations. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, stop by Finish Line Del Amo to hang out with @joycewrice and if you’re in the New York area stop by Finish Line Roosevelt to hang out with @tamaradhia. Both of these ladies knows what’s up in fashion when it came to styling their Jordan 1 Rebel’s, so you don’t want to miss the opportunity to see them on launch day.

If you won’t make it to our LA or NY store, you can get your pair of Jordan 1 Rebel XX OG’s on the Finish Line app.

Download for Apple or GooglePlay to purchase on Saturday, 6/2 at 2pm PT/5pm ET.????

 

Summer hasn’t even started yet, but Jordan Brand has been bringing the ????????????. We’ve seen the women’s Satin ‘Shattered Backboard’ AJ1, the ‘Shadow’ AJ1, the ‘Hall of Fame’ AJ3, and of course this upcoming weekend’s ‘Cap and Gown’ AJ11.

This June, Jordan Brand is set to bring back one of the most highly coveted retro of its time and it’s inspired by the former Nuggets 2003 #3 pick, Carmelo Anthony. You know Melo The God has been reppin’ JB since his days at ‘Cuse – scratch that – Oak Hill Academy High School and the brand blessed him with multiple Player Editions (back when it was very rare) during his rookie season, including the now iconic white and blue 2s. As a nod to the time that Melo spent in Denver, we are dropping this shoe early as a part of our Denver Flagship Store Grand Opening on Saturday 5/26.

Originally released back in ‘04, the Melo-inspired AJ2 returns with its smooth White, Varsity Maize, and University Blue color scheme. It has a lot of the same features as the OG so fans can definitely bask in the nostalgia and re-up in case your old pair has seen better days.

If you can’t make it to the Denver Flagship Store Grand Opening, make sure to mark your calendars for 6/9 to cop the AJ Retro 2 ‘Melo’ at FinishLine.com.

Jordan Brand is celebrating Michael Jordan’s famed “Last Shot” in a variety of ways, the most notable being the re-issue of the Air Jordan 14 that was worn during that epic Game 6. It all went down on June 14, 1998 in Salt Lake City, Utah; Michael Jordan’s jumper with 5.2 seconds remaining seals a Bulls victory over the Utah Jazz and with it a title, a legacy and a legend.  It was recently announced that Michael Jordan’s glory days with the Chicago Bulls will be documented like never before with the release of ESPN Films and Netflix’s The Last Dance in 2019. In celebration of the film and the 20th anniversary of MJ’s “Last Shot” against the Jazz during the 1998 NBA Finals, Nike has prepared a commemorative Bulls jersey for the occasion.

We will have the Home and Away Swingman versions and they will drop on May 31st. Each jersey is equipped with NikeConnect technology, which will unlock access to select “The Last Dance” content prior to the series premiere in 2019.

Grab your special edition Air Jordan Jersey on May 31st at 9am at Finishline.com.

The Air Jordan 11 holds a special place in the sneaker realm for what Jordan did wearing the shoe and the one of a kind look that they had when he debuted them on May 7th, 1995 in a game against the Orlando Magic. As the years have come and gone, the love and demand for the Retro 11 has become bigger than anything Tinker Hatfield or Michael Jordan could have imagined. Now, Jordan Brand is honoring those who accomplish graduating high-school with this premium take on the ’96 classic hoops model that is perfect for formal events that fall near the end of the school year in mind. JB is also giving graduates first dibs through a special SNKRs release that has never been done before.

What started as a sample in the ‘Blackout’ Collection back in 2011 has finally come full circle to be released after sneakerheads have been begging for years. Since 2011, this pair has accumulated numerous nicknames like ‘Blackout’, ‘Prom Night’ and others but Jordan Brand has dubbed these ‘Cap and Gown’ 11s. The all-black pair sports suede panels in place of the usual ballistic mesh, tonal branding hits, a metal Jumpman on the lateral heel in place of the usual stitched interpretation, a smokey outsole, and the model’s signature high-cut patent leather. To add to this pair’s theme, the black laces are made to resemble the cords worn by students on graduation day. Thanks to its shiny patent leather detailing resembling a dress shoe, the 11 has been re-purposed over the years by some as an “acceptable” compliment to formal wear.

With college graduation season already underway, don’t be surprised to see certain students rocking these with their traditional attire when they receive their diplomas this year. This pair will be releasing in MEN’S SIZES ONLY.

Grab your pair of the Air Jordan Retro 11 ‘Cap and Gown ’ on May 26th at Finishline.com. Make sure you check with your local store for more release details.

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.