Scuffles greet return of classic Air Jordans | Inquirer Sports

Scuffles greet return of classic Air Jordans

/ 07:31 PM December 24, 2011

Kristopher Rush, 14, shows off the Nike Air Jordan shoes he got for Christmas from his parents today outside the Lafayette Square Mall in Indianapolis. Police were called in to control crowds of shoppers flocking to Lafayette Square and Castleton Square malls in Indianapolis waiting for the shoes. Photo by AP

SEATTLE—Scuffles broke out and police were brought in to quell unrest that nearly turned into riots across the United States on Friday following the release of Nike’s new Air Jordan basketball shoes—a retro model of one of the most popular Air Jordans ever made.

The frenzy over Air Jordans has been dangerous in the past. Some people were mugged or even killed for early versions of the shoe, created by Nike Inc. in 1984.

The Air Jordan has since been a consistent hit with sneaker fans, spawning a subculture of collectors willing to wait hours to buy the latest pair. Some collectors save the shoes for special occasions or never take them out of the box.

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The mayhem stretched from Washington state to Georgia and was reminiscent of the violence that broke out 20 years ago in many cities as the shoes became popular targets for thieves. It also had a decidedly Black Friday feel as huge crowds of shoppers overwhelmed stores for a must-have item.

In suburban Seattle, police used pepper spray on about 20 customers who started fighting at the Westfield Southcenter mall. The crowd started gathering at four stores in the mall around midnight and had grown to more than 1,000 people by 4 a.m. when the stores opened, Tukwila Officer Mike Murphy said. He said it started as fighting and pushing among people in line and escalated over the next hour.

Murphy said no serious injuries were reported, although some people suffered cuts or scrapes from fights. Shoppers also broke two doors, and an 18-year-old man was arrested for assault after authorities said he punched an officer.

“He did not get his shoes; he went to jail,” Murphy said.

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The $180 shoes went on sale Friday in a limited release at stores, and the lines began forming several hours before businesses opened.

As the crowds kept growing through the night, they became more unruly and ended in vandalism, violence and arrests.

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TAGS: Michael Jordan, Shoes, Sports

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