After leading the Chicago Bulls to three consecutive NBA Championships Michael Jordan retired from the game of professional basketball to pursue his dream of playing baseball. So for the first time in the Air Jordan history his shoes would not be worn by MJ himself. Tinker Hatfield was still the architect behind the design adding a new one-pull lacing system to the shoe. Although the man himself never wore the shoes on the NBA hardwood some of the most popular players like Penny Hardaway and Mitch Richmond were given special versions to match their respective teams. Although not on the basketball court the Air Jordan 9 did end up on the feet of MJ though as a special cleated version was given to him during his time with the Birmingham Barons. Also on the outside of the Chicago’s United Center where MJ is immortalized in a statiue the artist chose to outfit him with a pair of Air Jordan 9’s.