Inspired by MJ’s Ferrari 550 Maranello, the Jordan XIV’s were the original “last shot” shoe.Everyone remembers that crossover step-back jumper over Bryon Russell that pushed theBulls past the Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals. Well, these were the kicks he was wearing.
After missing most of the 1985-86 NBA season with a broken bone in his left foot, MJ wore the Air Jordan II upon his return in 1986-87. Jordan cemented his legacy as one of the greatest scorers of all time at a young age that season, averaging 37.1 points per game in the last “Jumpman-less” Jordans.
The Air Jordan VI isn’t as well known for its style as it is for what MJ accomplished while sporting them. Released for the 1990-91 season, Jordan delivered his first championship in the VI’s, defeating Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Air Jordan X is a classic among classics. This is the shoe that ushered MJ back into the game wearing “45” on his back. What did he do? Oh, just drop 55 points to go along with the game-winning assist to beat the Knicks in only his fifth game since returning.
The Air Jordan XII—otherwise known as “The Flu Shoe”—is most famous for being worn during Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, when Jordan dropped 38 points, including the game-winner, despite battling the flu. Born in 1997, these Jordans were the first to be released under the exclusive Jordan brand, as MJ’s kicks finally garnered their own Nike sub-brand—and deservedly so.
Although Jordan never donned these sneakers on the court, he wore a cleated version on the diamond. The story goes that Jordan wanted a familiar shoe for his transition to baseball, so Tinker Hatfield turned the Jordan IX into the baseball cleats he wore with the Birmingham Barons.
The “Space Jam Jordans” are probably the most popular J’s of all time. Earning the nickname for their role on Jordan’s feet in Space Jam, the XI’s were released for the 1995-96 season, Jordan’s first full year back from retirement.
The Air Jordan VII was built on the look of the VI, but it traded the airsole heel for a full-length zoom-air sole while adding the legendary Jumpman logo around the ankle. Released for the 1991-92 season, Jordan may have accomplished more in these kicks than any other shoe on this list.