The Debate That Isn’t For Sneakerheads
20 years ago tonight, Michael Jordan laced up the original Air Jordan 11 “Playoffs” for the first time in a game against the Miami Heat. The Chicago Bulls had just finished up a record setting 72-10 season, which until this year seemed like a record that would never be broken. MJ and the Bulls were on a mission after Jordan returned from a brief stint attempting a professional baseball career.
In the first round, the Bulls blew past the Heat in a 3-0 sweep. In the 2nd round, Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks were able to steal game 3 at MSG in New York, but the Bulls prevailed in 5 games. Chicago then made quick work of Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals beating Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway and the Magic by 38 points in Game 1 and never looked back.
In the NBA Finals, Seattle’s dynamic duo of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp put up more of a fight. But the Bulls won in 6 games, on Father’s Day, before Michael grabbed the game ball and collapsed on the court overrun with emotions, this being his first Championship since his father passed away.
20 years later, the discussion of whether or not the 95-96 Bulls is the greatest team ever has become a revisited debate. Stephen Curry and the Warriors now have the regular season wins record. Whether or not they win the 15-16 NBA Championship remains to be seen. For sneakerheads, there is clearly many years before this debate is even a conversation.
Michael Jordan’s signature shoes from 1996, the Air Jordan 11 “Playoffs,” are rarely seen in deadstock condition. And even more rarely seen for sale (there is currently only 1 pair listed on StockX). The Jordan 11 is arguably the most iconic Air Jordan of all time, possibly even most iconic sneaker of all time. Stephen Curry’s Under Armour shoes have helped bring much needed attention to UA’s sneakers, but people line up for the Air Jordan 11 releases annually around the holidays.
Until we’re talking about decades of retros for Curry, the debate is really nonexistent for sneaker collectors. Chef Curry and the Dubs might have the current buzz and the record on paper but Michael Jordan still has the sneakerheads’ hearts.