Greatness Equals Greatness.
Welcome to today’s Nice Kicks’ Throwback Thursday where today, we start the new year off on the “right foot,” literally.
Let’s take a ride back to February 2004 and the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles with a fitting tribute of a classic and memorable Air Jordan silhouette from the post-Jordan era which has finally received its respect due: the Air Jordan 19.
Michael Jordan retired for the final time in April 2003 and left the game in capable hands, to the next generation of Jordan Brand athletes.
One of Jordan’s guiding metaphors – both for himself and his iconic brand – was his unwavering commitment to excellence and greatness which maifested itself not only through his on-court brilliance and elegance but also in his footwear, true pieces of accessible and wearable art and design.
Now in a state of transition, Jordan Brand was challenged with the task of leading the brand into the future without its global ambassador as the face of Air Jordan footwear.
In order to meet this challenge, Jordan Brand assembled its very own design all-star team including Brand Jordan Senior Designer Tate Kuerbis, Wilson Smith, Jason Mayden, Josh Heard, and Suzette Henri, who collectively created what would become one of the most innovative and pioneering Air Jordan models of all time.
Enter the Air Jordan XIX.
The Air Jordan XIX took inspiration from a certain poisonous African snake and served as the lightest and most flexible Air Jordan at the time of its release.
The shoe featured a multitude of advanced sneaker technology characteristic of the Air Jordan line including a lightweight, breathable, and flexible Tech Flex upper, a timeless patent leather toe box, carbon fiber plate, Phylon lightweight-foam midsole, Velcro heel strap, and plastic lace-locks.
In terms of cushioning, the Air Jordan XIX featured double-stacked heel Zoom Air, a design feature and continuation from its predecessor, as well as full-length Zoom Air cushioning for a comfortable, responsive, smooth ride.
Of note is its unique OG sneaker box, a design first, which opened from the middle, with each shoe being contained in a netted bag.
Five original colorways released including the classic black/chrome-varsity red Chicago Bulls colorway and the white/flint grey colorways, the latter worn by Melo at the 2004 Rising Stars Challenge during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.
Brand Jordan released a series of commercials featuring Melo and Gary Payton who served as the initial faces of the Air Jordan XIX, with a John Thompson-like narrating voice telling a story about the meaning of greatness, a perfect and fitting testament to both this timeless, iconic, and avant-garde sneaker and to Jordan Brand as well.
In addition, several regional colorways released which were unique limited to different parts of the country which gave the sneaker a bit of regional exclusivity.
Four XIX SE models debuted which lacked the characteristic and iconic shroud released as well as four low-top models which in turn allowed this silhouette to be truly versatile and fit a variety of playing styles.
A popular model at the time of its launch, the Air Jordan XIX and the Air Jordan XIX SE graced the hardwood by a plethora of NBA players and Jordan Brand athletes including Mike Bibby (Team Dime), Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Richard Hamilton, Gary Payton, Jalen Rose, and Michael Finley, many of whom wore player exclusive colorways with custom embroidery.
Also, of note, the Air Jordan XIX made its way to March Madness, worn by both the Cincinnati Bearcats as well as UConn, the latter during their 2004 Championship season.
In 2013, a limited edition 28 Days of Flight black/electric green version also released which commands a premium today and remains one of the most sought-after Air Jordan XIX models ever made.
Now, nearly 15 years later, the original “Flint Grey” colorway makes its return in true OG form along with the word, “Melo” on the insoles, a nod to the 10x NBA All-Star and 4x Olympian.
The Air Jordan XIX: greatness, unequaled.