20 years ago today, Michael Jordan made his big screen debut with Warner Brother’s Space Jam. The highest grossing basketball movie ever played off Michael Jordan’s real-life retirement from hoops while drawing inspiration from a Nike ad for the Air Jordan 7. The result? One of the biggest flicks, kicks and soundtracks this galaxy or any other has ever seen.
Pouring in pop culture nostalgia from each every angle, the movie released right after Jordan and the Bulls then-record setting 72-10 season with MJ mania and fandom soaring across the country. The cartoon comedy saw Jordan playing the hero, with NBA buddies Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley making cameos as their skills would be stolen as ammunition against the Toon Squad. Billy Murray and Wayne Knight would co-star and lace them up with MJ, Daffy, Lola and the gang for an epic showdown of good versus evil on the hardwood with a Hollywood ending. In addition, hits from R. Kelly and The Quad City DJs would score the scenes and also tear up the charts. For some, the soundtrack proves just as memorable as the movie itself.photo via Alamo Drafthouse
For sneakerheads, the biggest highlight (and tease) would be Mike’s game shoes: the Air Jordan 11 in black, white and concord which would later take on the “Space Jam” nickname. Debuted in the 1995 NBA Playoffs against the Orlando Magic, the shouldn’t have been worn dress code alternate would prove ‘very rare’ as they say, only getting burn in the short series and once again on film. While Mike would rock the “Concord,” “Columbia” and “Playoff” 11s in the time between the ’95 Playoffs and Space Jam hitting theaters, the coveted colorway would not release at retail until the year 2000. The return of the 11 and IRL store debut of this nostalgic makeup would play a major role in the popularity of retro Jordans then and for many years to come.
As the Air Jordan 11 “Space Jam” makes its remastered return this holiday season sporting #45 tagging just like Mike’s unreleased OGs, enjoy this day in sneaker history and maybe pop in the movie for old time’s sake.
Lead image via SBS