#KicksStalker: ‘The Grail’ hits home
Don’t tell me it’s only a pair of shoes.
It has never been as such since it burst on the scene 23 years ago.
The date was May 1995 when the basketball world laid its eyes on a sneaker it had never seen before.
Not only was it fresh, it was also one of its kind.
It had a white mesh upper and a black patent leather from the toe box all the way around the heel for a luxurious touch. The soles were icy and who could forget the number “45” on the heel notch.
The Air Jordan 11 “Concord” was only a sample pair the legendary Michael Jordan broke out in the grand stage of the NBA Playoffs that eventually turned into one of his most iconic sneakers.
Jordan will always be remembered as the greatest ever. A hands down winner with a perfect record in the NBA Finals and the man at front and center of the Chicago Bulls dynasty in the 90s.
But “His Airness” won’t reach rarefied air without enduring a fair share of failures and it was in the Concord 11 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the up-and-coming Orlando Magic where he was in one of his most vulnerable state.
With the Bulls up by one less than 20 seconds left, Jordan, who just came out of his first retirement, had the ball stripped away from him from behind by Nick Anderson, who was wearing the Jordan 10 “Orlando” then, that led to the game-winning dunk by the Magic on the other end.
Jordan and the Bulls went on to lose the series in six games but that rare moment of defeat would also pave the way for his greatest triumph the following year: A 72-10 regular season record coupled with his fourth championship that setup another three-peat.
What made the Concord 11 timeless is its history. Every shoe has a story and the Jordan 11 Concord is about a grandiose comeback from a painful setback.
I remember owning my first pair of Jordans in 1996 when I was a wide-eyed seven-year-old.
My first Jordan sneakers were the Jordan 11 Bred (black and red). Yes, I had the OG and I wish I still had it.
Of all the Jordan silhouettes, the 11s hold a special place inside me. That’s why when rumors of a fourth release of the Concords surfaced as early as late last year, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. And when the drop was finally official last April and that it would be a mirror image of the actual pair Jordan had worn, I knew I had to cop and taking an L wasn’t an option especially now that I have enough money to spend on it.
Nike reportedly released over a million pairs in full sizing worldwide on December 8. Filipinos got their hands on the Concords at Nike and Titan.
The 2018 Concords were my first Jordan 11 pair since 1996 and unboxing it took me back to my childhood, back to that day when I was wearing my white Jordan jersey with the number 45 and boxers as I was opening the box with the bred in it. I was that kid all over again.
Months before the Concords released, I told myself it would be my last Jordan pair, but it didn’t take that long for me to fool myself yet again with Nike rumored to release the Breds again next year, six years since it last came out.
It’s never been just a pair of shoes. The real ones call it “The Grail.”