A History of Michael Jordan’s Flight School Air Jordan Debuts

Aug 10, 2015 | Ian Stonebrook |

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Michael Jordan is an icon in every sense of the word. Even in the era of social media where celebrities and athletes seem closer and more accessible than ever, MJ is still a figure you’d be stunned to see in real life.

For attendees of Michael Jordan’s Flight School Camp, seeing MJ in real life is perhaps the rarest perk of the program. For years, Mike has been known to show up at his camp and talk with attendees and even prove that he’s still got it on the court — this of course includes putting down dunks at the age of 50.

So after all these years, is it still the shoes?

Aside from operating as a dream factory for fans of MJ old and young, the Flight School Camp has also proved the place of premiere for many Air Jordan silos and new colorways. After debuting new kicks at this year’s Flight School Camp, we take a look back at some of the other pairs previewed by MJ during the summer sessions.

Air Jordan XIX White/Grey

photo via For the Love of the Game

Recently retired but kicking it on court, the world got an early glimpse at the Air Jordan XIX on the feet of MJ at his camp. Taking place during the pre-blog era, the shot and the shoes made a major splash on NikeTalk, creating conversation as to if these were in fact the next Air Jordan signature. These would prove to be the launch colorway of the model months later.

Air Jordan XX2 White/Black

Early sample shots of the Air Jordan XX2 saw speculation of heavy 3M usage and even heat sensitive color changing technology. While the retail release wasn’t that radical, the shoe has aged well with time. An early introduction to this pair proved to be on the feet of Michael Jordan, famously wearing them while going 1-on-1 with a young O.J. Mayo. Similar searches also suggest that this camp was the early introduction to the first “Flip” Air Jordan 3 colorway.

Air Jordan 11 Low Black/White-Red

photo by Marcus Jordan

In 2011, we were clamoring for the return of patent leather on the Air Jordan 11 Low. By 2012, motions were made as the White/Red AJ 11 Low released at retail. That same summer, Mike debuted a Black/White-Red pair at his Flight School Camp. Needless to say, sneakerheads were stoked and these proved to foreshadow the launch that would take place the following summer. While the retail release would pack an icy outsole, Mike’s PE pair or sample shoes were pretty much on point, differing mainly with a red sole.

Air Jordan 11 Low Black/Gum

photos via Weibo/Kenlu

Similar to the “Space Jams” or overtly old, the Black/Gum Air Jordan 11 Low was seen on the feet of MJ at Flight School back in 2012. Still yet to be released, they were an early introduction to the gum bottom lows that we’ve often seen sampled but have never seen at retail. With the recent run of OG AJ 11 Mids converted to Lows, we’d hope to see an icy “Space Jam” edition hit soon.

Air Jordan 11 Low Navy/Gum & Air Jordan 11 Low “Concord”

photos via Michael Jordan Basketball Camp & @mjflightschool

Going gum once again, in 2013 Michael Jordan debuted a Navy/Gum Air Jordan 11 Low at his camp. This pair also proves unreleased and exclusive to MJ, furthering his favoritism of the patent lows. On top of that, Mike also broke out the “Concord” Lows a year prior to their retail release.

Air Jordan XX9 Low & New Air Jordan 1

photos via @mjflightschool

At MJ’s latest Flight School Camp, he made headlines around the web for debuting the Air Jordan XX9 Low. While release details are unknown and perhaps even unlikely for this silo, a new take on the Air Jordan 1 also made waves. Unique in color blocking and composition, we hope this pair makes its way to shelves as opposed to living in sample lore.

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