Today, February 29th comes around every four years and it just so happens that this year “Leap Day” as it is known has landed on a Monday. And Mondays in the sneaker community is known as “MJ Mondays”. The first installment of our MJ Mondays for 2016 takes us into the art of flight.
When does simply leaping or jumping become flying? That question has been posed for decades. Ever since the Wright Brothers’ first flight of 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina man has been fascinated by flight. A notion that would carry man not only into the lower atmosphere but also above the stratosphere and into the great unknown…the final frontier. However that historical event has much bearing on how we approach flight and travel today. But in a sense it feels that it was almost destined, distinctly predetermined that a man born in Brooklyn, New York who matriculated from the hollowed Tobacco Road…would one day defy the rules of flight once again. No one believed in 1903 that man could fly…and certainly in 1985 no one believed man could fly until Michael Jordan changed the narrative.
After all…before the shot of Craig Ehlo or the Double Nickel game in the Garden or Last Shot in game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, there was the awe inspiring takeoffs from no. 23.
But Jordan’s ability to make jumping seem like mere more was nothing short of phenomenal. This is the Junpman we are talking about. It’s not just a pretty dope logo, it is what made the mystique of Jordan so great. Of course, we have additional moments but never before has a human being defied the laws of gravity, time and physics like Jordan. If Albert Einstein were alive while Jordan played, he might have a difficult time trying to debunk the theory that man might be able to fly. But it is that mystique and awe that baffled everyone who ever witnessed Jordan take flight…including Tinker Hatfield, who relied on a singular image of Jordan leaping from the free throw line which handily won MJ the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest. It was that single moment, that single image that drew inspiration for the Air Jordan XXX. As evident by the notion that in the seemingly slowed seconds that Jordan appeared to be gliding through the air with the greatest of ease that Jordan had not only the eye of the world but the captivation and imaginations of the world as well. Because that is seemingly impossible.
And it is not only the dunks, but it’s the switching of the hands with the greatest of ease in Game 3 of the 1991 NBA Finals with a kiss off the glass. It just makes you think that flight is possible but then you’re quickly reminded that a human being, a man could not do that. At least not an ordinary man.
Father Time eventually claimed Jordan’s leaping ability but time can never erase the feeling, the bone chilling, goosebump drawing genuine reaction you had seeing Jordan take flight from the free throw line. Or even in a CGI imaginative personification, leaping from half court line with the Monstars draped on his back in Space Jam. An image that resonated with a five-year old child who was completely enamored with the image that until now…that moment, that image, that scene…may have been fiction but there was truth in it. And the truth is, Jordan completely redefined what it was to leap, what it was to jump…what it was to take flight. A notion that was personified in that closing scene of the Tune Squad-Monstars game. Albeit still fiction.
Safe to conclude that Jordan by all means redefined flight. Not because of his dunking prowess or his power and creativity but by the sheer notion that he showed us for years, that man can indeed…