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Jordan Retro 7 began as a fantastic voyage

The Air Jordan line of signature performance basketball shoes has been a long one, winding through history with stops for greatness along the way. In 1991-92, fans of Michael Jordan set out to follow him to a second straight championship. In February 1992, they gained a new shoe in which to do it when Nike released the Air Jordan VII.

If you missed the original release, the Jordan brand began re-releasing the shoe as the Retro 7 in 2002. That way, future generations could own a piece of his legacy.

Home-away-from-home games

The first stop on MJ’s fantastic voyage came on the shores of Lake Michigan, where he brought Chicago a second straight championship. Along the way, he averaged a league-best 30.1 points per game on his way to the league’s scoring title as well as MVP honors in both the regular season and finals, while also netting first-team all-league and all-defensive team selections.

Beginning in late July, well after MJ had earned his league honors, he took his game global. In Barcelona that summer, he led the USA to a series of crushing performances that secured America’s place atop world basketball competition. MJ’s USA team won all six of its games, its margin of victory ranging from 38 to 79 points.

And he did it all in the Air Jordan VII.

Ancient inspiration

Designer Tinker Hatfield drew inspiration from West African tribal art for the shoe, which featured geometric details and bold lines on the midsole. Hatfield also incorporated Nike’s Huarache design, which draws from the look of an ancient sandal. A neoprene sock liner ensured comfort that adapted to each wearer’s foot.

Absent on this model were the visible Air-Sole unit, the Nike Air logo, and the translucent outsole, which had a tendency to yellow. In came a leather and nubuck upper for stylish durability, and Air-Sole units that were encased in the heel and forefoot.

Other sneakerheads may remember 1992 as the Year of the Rabbit, as a certain cartoon hare joined MJ to help market the shoe.

MJ wore the Red/White/Blue colorway to gold in Barcelona. His personal pair had his Barcelona number 9 on the back, while pairs released stateside had his regular uniform number, 23. MJ’s retro game took a step up with serious heat that serious sneakerheads will remember included these:

  • Orion – White/Orion Blue/Black/Infrared
  • Bordeaux – White/Light Graphite
  • Cardinal – White/Black/Cardinal Red/Bronze
  • Barcelona – White/Midnight Navy/True Red
  • Charcoal/Raptor – Black/Dark Charcoal/True Red