Last week’s installment of MJ Mondays boasted that the following installment would celebrate a special anniversary. And today we do just that…we look further into this particular anniversary in a year filled with anniversaries for Jordan Brand.
The timeline of events that surround Michael Jordan’s first retirement from basketball is quite interesting. There was the baseball stint with the Birmingham Barons under the Chicago White Sox farm system; the untimely and saddening loss of his father, James Jordan and on a smaller level, the Air Jordan line was in a state of limbo. Not knowing what Michael would do…whether he would come back to the game of basketball at all was a realistic thought. So Nike planned as if MJ would not return to the hardwood. But on March 18th, 1995…in a press release distributed by F.A.M.E. for immediate release…Michael simply stated “I’m back.” as it related to his future career plans. And only four games into his return to the NBA, game five would be special.
But before we recant the special fifth game back for Michael…let’s look at the timeline a little closer. Specifically with the Air Jordan 10. Simply not knowing what Michael would do left the Air Jordan line in a state of flux; so in 1994…Nike released their first ever retros of the Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan 3. But those retros were far less successful or even appreciated at that time then they are now as we have come to know them. However Tinker Hatfield still took the Air Jordan 10 to task. The Air Jordan 10 basically was an homage to the Air Jordan line hence the notable accolades that rest on the outsole of the model.
And if you notice…the accolades only go up to 1995. But not through 1995. That chapter of the story was yet to be written. But when Michael announced his return in that press release in those two words it opened up a realm of possibilities. Which takes us to the present day. Because when Tinker had “Beyond” etched into the outsole of the Air Jordan 10…it was for the immediate future and the imminent future.
And just five games into his high profiled return; Jordan and the Bulls visited Madison Square Garden. And what better arena; what better stage is there in all of basketball to show you still have what it takes to play there. And to unconsciously add to those accolades that rest on the underside of the very kicks you’re wearing.
Jordan ultimately dropped 55-points against John Starks, Patrick Ewing and the Pat Riley coached Knicks. But what makes the story that much more interesting is that as we approach the 20th anniversary of the Double Nickel game. Which comes with the retro release of the ‘Chicago’ Air Jordan 10 under a new name under the Remastered initiative. Fittingly nicknamed; the ‘Double Nickel’ Air Jordan 10. Which features aspects that make this retro closer to the original then the 2012 initial retro of the ‘Chicago’ Air Jordan 10.
Michael took Tinker’s design and provided the personification the silhouette needed to become classic. Not just this colorway but each colorway that MJ laced up of the Air Jordan 10. Because in that Beyond slit on the outsole of the Air Jordan 10 was this; the Double Nickel game. It was two more Most Valuable Player awards; three more Championships and Finals MVP awards, one Flu Game and one “push-off” on Byron Russell and two more All-Star Game MVP awards. One of which came in Madison Square Garden in the last All-Star Game played in MSG before 2015; where a Jordan Brand athlete would win the award. Go figure.
The Double Nickel game could be credited with not necessarily reviving Michael’s basketball career but with providing the platform; the springboard that would allow Jordan and Jordan Brand to flourish two decades after the game which Michael was credited not with the winning shot…but the winning assist with a pass to Bill Wennington lock up the game for the visiting Bulls.