Ever since that unforgettable and memorable day, I have accumulated thousands and thousands of J’s – some I’ve used and thrown away; some I’ve kept with me until today.
And as I write this, I still buy them every time a new one comes out. Because I now earn a good living for myself, I tend to buy more than before. Unlike the times when I can only buy a pair (or get my parents to), by the Grace of the Benevolent God, I now am privileged to buy 2 pairs of each release at the very least, and for each and every colorway that drops: one for me to rock, the other one for me to keep dead stocked.
Of course, I also know now that Nike took advantage of my adolescent vulnerabilities. Having spent hours and hours of digesting the writings of Thomas Frank, Naomi Klein, Leo Burnett and the likes, I know that forging emotional ties to Nike's flagship offering - quite possibly the single most marketed fashion product of the 20th century, I like to tell myself - puts me in the "shallow consumer" category, currently dominated by teenagers ;)
But my desire for Air Jordans arrived before the slick commercials (who can ever forget the Spike Lee-directed and starred Mars Blackmon ads?); way before the 6 championships the bulls won, way before MJ became the greatest basketball player ever.
And more importantly, my appreciation for Air Jordan’s extends beyond the simple product itself. While fellow Jordan collectors understand the same feeling and ‘high’ I have every time I chance upon a rare Jordan Vintage, the vast majority of the developed world couldn’t comprehend these innate sentiments. If only they had the same privilege I had when I was 13 years old, they would definitely understand that none of the athletic footwear we have today could have existed without that black and red high tops from Nike.
Certainly nowadays, the thoughts of pure function, of rubber soles and leather uppers for athletic shoes have all been gone and a thing of the past. Because of Air Jordan, sneakers are now a part of the bright, brash, mesmeric and often-flawed leviathan that is sneaker culture.
You know those kick-around simples that you love wearing when you go anywhere? They all exist because of the Air Jordan! In today’s modern world, the idea that casual footwear somehow reflects who we are, what we like – y’know, our visions of the world?
It's in the shoes, man; it’s gotta be da shoes!