This Saturday’s retro release of the Air Jordan III “Fire Red” got me thinking about threes. The title says it all…I’m just going to get right into it.
Sport Inspired – The reason sneakers were created in the first place was for athletes. The reason we fell in love with shoes was the great accomplishments those athletes had wearing them. Well, at least my generation. Some of today’s enthusiasts weren’t old enough to see Mike jump from the foul line and win the dunk contest in 1988. Trust me, it was epic. Michael Jordan in the air, stretched out, flying to the rim was such an iconic sight that Nike created a logo that depicted it. As everyone knows by now, the Air Jordan III was laced up, and on Mike’s feet for that moment.
Elephant Print – Never has a design been so versatile and so perfect that it’s put to use for the next 25 years without getting played out. It’s on NikeID. It’s been on Dunks, Air Max, Air Force 1s, and countless other Nike models. This design snaps necks no matter what silhouette and color way it gets dressed with. 100% classic. But it’s subtle presence on the toe box and mud guard of the Air Jordan III up against tumbled leather is perfection. Just enough to make the shoe pop without interfering with the clean, classic look.
Tinker Hatfield – You may be able to argue with the entire concept of this article. You may be one of those people that takes the other position on an argument just for the sake of debate. You may be able to get your Johnny Cochran on with the best of ‘em and turn believers into doubters. You may be all of the above and you still cannot debate, argue or challenge the legacy of Tinker. Some things are up for discussion and some things are fact. This was the first of many classics designed by the greatest sneaker designer of all time who designed shoes for the greatest basketball player of all time. Sometimes people cross paths at just the right time in their lives…Tinker & Mike did that, and we are the beneficiaries of that.
History is a funny thing in that you never know when you’re making it. At the time, Mike didn’t know when he jumped from the foul line that it was going to be an iconic moment in sports. Tinker didn’t know that Nike would use elephant print on almost every classic silhouette they own. And Nike didn’t know that 25 years later, people would be lining up for these shoes and jumping through all kinds of hoops to get a pair.
Words: Andrew Kanevsky / @thedondrew