Now at the ripe age of 25, I was raised in the golden era but came into ?collecting? during my high school days when most retros were getting their first run. While demand or output was nothing like the scene today, old models still moved faster than recent designs and few were lining up for current signatures. Still stocking Eastbays but spending more of my time on Nike Talk, the Air Jordan XX hit the internet like an asteroid and reshaped the way I looked at sneaker design.#XX8DaysOfFlight: My Air Jordan XX Story
Sporting a ruby red anklet and a midsole that looked like it belonged on a racing shoe, the AJXX sample images looked nothing like the Jordans we grew up on or the retros we were rocking. Torn apart from a sampling standpoint like the Yeezy prototypes, but panned worse than any recent KD, LeBron, or you guessed it, the AJ XX8, the shoe was slammed on the message boards. Over time, though, the design began to grow on most, similar to other basketball oddities-turned-innovators of the era like the Huarache 2k4 or the Zoom Kobe IV.
While the shoe was certainly not for everyone, as its February launch approached, the ad campaign made it on like Donkey Kong for me. ?Will You Be the One?? was the calling card for the Spike Lee led commercial, seeing Mars Blackmon come out of retirement for the first time since Mike hung them up in the capitol. As a junior in high school that got cut from the middle school hoops team and was just looking to get some shine in IM, it was certain that I would not be the next Jordan, but it was dope that after all these years of pushing MJ and the Team Jordan roster that they would even open up the possibility that someone else would be not like Mike, but better. With distribution far from limited but much less saturated than previous signatures, I headed out to the Lansing Mall to get them the week they dropped and quickly headed over to Court One in Okemos to get my hoop on.#XX8DaysOfFlight: My Air Jordan XX Story
Playing in a sneaker that exceed my expectation level on the hardwood was certainly nothing new, but taking five minutes to put them on and deciding to wear them as a high or low was. As expected, the IPS cushioning was phenomenal and the toe box panelling cured the creases that plagued my Hyperflights years before. The ankle strap was probably more of a gimmick than a game changer, but it did its part to restore the luxury and oddity that made Air Jordans, well, Air Jordans.#XX8DaysOfFlight: My Air Jordan XX Story
For a kid that loved basketball first and sneakers second, the latter passion is the one that turned into a career. While sneakers serve as a time machine for many, myself for sure, great memories with retros are there, but they’re usually tied to gifts and holiday time with my family more so than early mornings at the mall. Looking back, it was the daring designs like Air Jordan XX that kept sneakers fun and took me back to the times when it was all new again.