MJ Mondays: The Uniqueness of the 23rd Anniversary of the Air Jordan 8

This year’s 23rd anniversary of the Air Jordan 7 has been…well…underwhelming to say the least. Of course just like any anniversary, we expect a hybrid of OG releases and new color schemes. But this year it felt that the ledger was tipped more in the opposite direction. More new color schemes then OGs. Which leaves us at a crossroads with the impending 23rd anniversary of the Air Jordan 8 in 2016.

Let us explain. In this next installment of MJ Mondays.

With a predominate slew of new colorways, and with several retros over the last eight years, specifically a heavy focus on the last three; including this year makes for an interesting situation. To grasp exactly what we’re referring to…we’ll begin in 2007 with the last retro of the ‘Aqua’ Air Jordan 8 which made its first appearance since its original launch in the early 90s. Also in 2007, Jordan Brand retro’ed the original ‘Playoffs’ Air Jordan 8. And the following year in 2008, the ‘Bugs Bunny’ Air Jordan 8 made its second retro appearance as part of the 8/15 Countdown Package.

And in 2013 not too far removed from the last original retros of the Air Jordan 8, Jordan Brand re-launched the ‘Bugs Bunny’ and ‘Playoffs’ Air Jordan 8 to the delight of the sneaker community. But this pattern puts Jordan Brand in quite the conundrum. As we saw this year with both the Remastered ‘Hare’ and ‘Bordeaux’ Air Jordan 7…Nike Air returned to the insoles of the retros with an attention to detail that made them more like their original counterparts then ever before.

jordan brand holiday 2015 preview (17)Perhaps that is what we’ll see this year with the ‘Aqua’ Air Jordan 8 Remastered holiday retro. An original Nike Air stamped insole…but even then by unloading the entire stable of OGs between 2013 and 2015…what does Jordan Brand do for the 23rd anniversary in 2016?

Well, what Jordan Brand has shown us is that they are not against dropping multiple retros of the same signature in a short time window. Look no further than 2009 and 2011 when the ‘True Blue’ Air Jordan 3 retro’ed ahead and during the 23rd anniversary of the Air Jordan 3.

So could we see that with the ‘Playoff’ and ‘Bugs Bunny’ colorways? A short three years removed from their last releases…coming back with a true feel just like the ‘Aqua’ colorway from December 2015? It is very possible that that is indeed what could happen.

The other option that most likely will happen as the year progresses…is that we’ll see an influx of new colorways for the signature. But this year’s anniversary featured a heavier influx of new colorways versus original colorways. It may be a pattern that carries over into next year, especially since there is only three original color schemes of the Air Jordan 8.

kobe bryant air jordan 8 peAnd with only three OGs to lean on and each releasing relatively shortly before the 23rd anniversary; it could open the door for Jordan Brand to explore the launch of Air Jordan 8 PEs. After all, the Quentin Richardson and Ray Allen Air Jordan 8 PEs did release in February of 2008 in an unannounced House of Hoops hyperstrike.

And with this year presumably being Kobe Bryant’s last season in the NBA…Jordan Brand could look to MJ’s compared heir to help push along the anniversary before the season’s end. Or perhaps they can look in-house, as the hottest rumor on the mill right now is that Jordan Brand has plans to release the Chris Paul Air Jordan 13 PEs. Which if true…could hold weight in 2016 and spawn the launch of CP3’s Air Jordan 8 PEs.

Thus leaving an opportunity that we have yet to see Jordan Brand take advantage of during the 23rd anniversaries.

The third option for the 23rd anniversary of the Air Jordan 8 is to implement something we’ll see for the first time later this month. On October 24th…the ‘Three’s the Charm’ Air Jordan 8 will arrive and do so as an ode to Michael Jordan the Chicago Bulls’ first three-peat. Where Chicago defeated; the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trailblazers and Phoenix Suns. But that ode is not what we’re referring to…we’re referring to the tongue stitching that never made it past the testing stage back when the Air Jordan 8 was first being developed by Tinker Hatfield.

jordan brand holiday 2015 preview (19)
The insignia stitched into the tongue is the exact same as the ‘Playoff’ Air Jordan 8 sample worn by MJ during 1993. But there were some slight differences in the two. For starters, the insignia was printed onto a vertical tongue tag and secondly the Jumpman is scaled more to its traditional proportions in the upcoming retro. As opposed to the sample where the Jumpman was rather misshapened and bigger.

Additionally…the Air Jordan 8 also featured other variations…the Air Jordan 8 Sky PS features a different tongue entirely from the retail variation and the sample turned retail iteration. As well as a different patterned mudguard along the lateral and medial heels. All of which could be in play in 2016. As Jordan Brand looks to differentiate the 23rd anniversary of the Air Jordan 8 from the previous seven.

Of course this is all speculation based on release patterns and observations, and only time will tell what Jordan Brand brings us in 2016 with the Air Jordan 8.