Michael Jordan had a custom built-in strap on his Air Jordan 1s after breaking his foot in 1985

Arun Sharma
|Published 30/08/2022

Complex Sneakers put out a video that unearthed one of the world’s best Air Jordan collections – this lifetime achievement has only game-worn pairs of sneakers.

An anonymous collector has been able to spend a lifetime’s worth of money, effort and patience to track down people who own game-worn sneakers of Michael Jordan. They’ve put together a collection like no other. Any collector worth his salt will try to have at least one game-worn pair, this one is made of just them. Such a commitment to something as banal as shoes!

But these are anything but that. Steeped in history, each pair has its meaning to fans around the world. Each colourway has a story behind it, that the fans revere. One of the models that nobody can seem to get enough of, is the Air Jordan 1. The sheer amount of passion collectors have for that model is insane. But that aside, the AJ1 served as the platform for all the Air Jordan’s greatness.

The most iconic, yet not known as widely is the Air Jordan 1, with the strap built in. The strap was for when MJ broke his foot and needed that extra support. He also made Nike play around with the soles, providing him with better support. This gave birth to two anomalies – The Jordan 1.5 and the Jordan Dunks. The 1.5 had an Air Jordan 1 upper, with a Jordan 2 sole. And the Jordan dunk had a dunk sole.

A lot of the colourways have been retroed, but these two will probably never see the light of the sun again.

Also Read: Michael Jordan’s $5 billion brand with Nike wouldn’t have existed if Spencer Haywood and Magic Johnson signed on!

Michael Jordan’s greatest contribution to the sport is not his 6 titles – it is the legacy he’s left behind in Air Jordan

Almost 40 years on, Michael Jordan is still the same youth icon as he was in 1984. But this time, he’s not spoken for his talent with the ball, but the shoes his brand puts out. This era of kids has never seen him play but know him exclusively from the beautiful shoes he makes. And the original iteration of each of them was showcased by Complex Sneakers, making this video all about the history of the original 14.

The collection is immaculate, for something as beaten down as sneakers. The sheer determination to have something like this, and a complete set that too, is commendable. The “sneakerheads” of today only see the popular models, but the real ones know the importance of certain colourways like the Hare 7, or the Olympic Air Jordan 7.

The real game lies in the later models. The 6,7,8 trio were all important for his success – winning a trophy in them finalls. The 14s for the last shot. The 11,12, and 14 are for the same reason. The popular models may be the early ones, but the best stories revolve around the late originals. Any person who knows their history respects the OGs while having their favourite.

The Air Jordan 1s shaped an entire generation and the generation after – they will shape the generations coming too. Timeless in design, and everpresent with a name like Michael Jordan.

Also Read: Michael Jordan owns 23 of the 46 “Wahlburger 4s” but Mark Wahlberg’s son was keen on getting $100,000 for them


About the author
Arun Sharma

Arun Sharma

Arun Sharma is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. A double degree holder and a digital marketer by trade, Arun has always been a sports buff. He fell in love with the sport of basketball at a young age and has been a Lakers fan since 2006. What started as a Kobe Bryant obsession slowly turned into a lifelong connection with the purple and gold. Arun has been an ardent subscriber to the Mamba mentality and has shed tears for a celebrity death only once in his life. He believes January 26, 2020, was the turning point in the passage of time because Kobe was the glue holding things together. From just a Lakers bandwagoner to a basketball fanatic, Arun has spent 16 long years growing up along with the league. He thinks Stephen Curry has ruined basketball forever, and the mid-range game is a sight to behold. Sharma also has many opinions about football (not the American kind), F1, MotoGP, tennis, and cricket.

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