‘The Last Dance’ through sneakers
The keenly-awaited 10-part documentary series “The Last Dance” made its debut on Netflix with its first two episodes on Monday.
The series shows never-before-seen footage from Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ final title run in the 1997-98 NBA season.
The first two episodes of the series also provided a good look at some of Jordan’s iconic sneakers he played in during that time.
Air Jordan I
Designed by Peter Moore, the Air Jordan was initially banned by the NBA as it went against the league’s strict uniform color codes. To wear them on the court, Jordan needed to cough up a fine of $5,000.
But Nike saw this as a promotional advantage and paid the daily fines, charging it to marketing costs. The only shoe in the series that carries the Swoosh logo, the Air Jordan was MJ’s Rookie of the Year shoe.
An all-time classic, the Air Jordan 1 released in 1985 and it was also in these pair where Jordan set the NBA record for the most points in playoff game with 63 against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 1986 playoffs.
Jordan also wore the Chicago colorway of the Jordan 1 in his final game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden as a member of the Bulls in 1998.
Air Jordan XI
The Jordan XI, which released in 1995, is probably the GOAT among sneakers, a shoe that cut across pop culture lines when Michael used it for his starring role in the movie Space Jam. The Concord colorway is the most-loved shoe of the line. And the XIs’ striking patent leather design isn’t just for style. Hatfield used the material to help keep Jordan’s foot on the shoe bed during hard cuts. The idea came after Hatfield watched videos of Jordan and noticed how his foot would roll off the bed with the sudden shift of direction.
In the early part of the first episode, Jordan is shown working on his shooting at Berto Center, the Bulls practice facility at that time, in a pair of Concords.
It was in a “Bred” (Black and Red) colorway of the 11s when Jordan won his fourth championship by beating the Seattle SuperSonics in six games during the 1996 NBA Finals.
Air Jordan XIII
The Jordan XIII, also a creation of Tinker Hatfield, takes inspiration from one of Jordan’s nicknames “Black Cat” coined by some of his friends. The most striking feature of the Jordan 13 is the hologram on the upper that resembles the eye of a panther, while the outsole features a paw-like design.
In the series, Jordan, along with his two sons Jeffrey and Marcus, wore a similar white and black pair of the Jordan 13, which was also made popular by Spike Lee’s sports drama film “He Got Game” starring another NBA star in Ray Allen.
The shoe, which he used for most of the regular season in the 1997-98 season, first appeared in the series during the Bulls’ trip to Paris for a preseason tournament in 1997. Jordan also wore the pair during the Bulls’ ring ceremony months after defeating the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals. He also rocked a “Cherry” (white and red) version of the 14 during the season.
For most of the 1998 playoffs, Jordan wore a black and red pair of the 13s before switching to the Ferrari-inspired Air Jordan XIV during the latter part of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, including his iconic title-clinching shot in Game 6. And that particular colorway of his 14th signature shoe would be later known as “The Last Shot.” He also played in a “Playoffs” colorway as well as a low top version of the 14 during his farewell season with the Bulls.
Episodes 3 and 4 of The Last Dance will be shown Monday next week also at 3 p.m.