In May of 2017, I wrote about 3 compelling reasons why pastors need a hobby. In that post, I referenced one of my hobbies - collecting Air Jordan sneakers. So why am I a 35-year old man who collects Air Jordan's? I'm so glad you asked...
It all started when I was in the 4th grade when my mom bought me my very first pair of Air Jordan's. They were the Air Jordan VI's in the Black/Infrared colorway. (I'm still trying to track down a deadstock (never been worn) pair at a decent price, to add to my collection.) I remember that, because they were a kid-sized shoe, they didn't have the air bubble that the adult sizes had. If my memory serves me correctly she bought them at JC Penny.
The first pair of Jordan's I owned also has significance because it was the same model shoe that Michael Jordan wore when he won his very first NBA Championship in 1991, against the Los Angeles Lakers. I was 9 years old. I don't have a memory of watching Michael Jordan play basketball prior to watching his Bulls beat the Lakers 4 games to 1 in that NBA Finals.
Though I liked my Air Jordan VI's, my parents didn't have enough money to buy me Jordan's throughout middle school (especially when I started wearing adult sizes), so I didn't purchase my first pair of Air Jordan sneakers until my sophomore year of high school. The year was 1998. I was 16 years old, and I was playing on the Junior Varsity High School basketball team. Because I wasn't very good, one sure way of getting respect on the court (and in life!) was by having the latest pair of Air Jordan's.
With that primary motivation in mind, I bought, with my own money, the Air Jordan XIII's Black/Varsity Red at the Niketown in San Francisco which had just opened a year earlier. I was ecstatic. The feeling of playing in a new pair of Air Jordan's can hardly be described. When I put them on my feet, I instantly felt like I could play like Mike! They gave me a level of confidence like no other shoe ever did. And they gave me this feeling not only when I was on the court, but when I was off the court too! Even though the word "swag" didn't exist in '98, I sure had it walking around in my fresh Air Jordan XIII's! (This pair was recently re-released and I hope to add it to my collection again soon!)
After experiencing the feeling that the Black/Varsity Red Air Jordan XIII's gave me, I have been addicted ever since! I wore them throughout high school, I wore them throughout college, and for all of my adult life, there has never been a time when I haven't owned multiple pairs of Air Jordan's. It's crazy to think that for 20 years, I have been buying, wearing, selling, trading, giving away, and collecting Air Jordan Sneakers.
There's just something about 'em. Wearing the shoes that Mike played in. Wearing the shoes that he won championships in, hit historic shots in, broke records in, won dunk contests in, and played in All-Star games in. Wearing Air Jordan's is like wearing history. History that I experienced. History that I watched unfold before me while sitting down on my living room floor watching TV.
But, it's not just about wearing history. As materialistic or shallow as it may seem, and maybe others wouldn't want to admit this, it's also about making a fashion statement. But since there are many "fashion statements" one could make by wearing Air Jordan's, here are the specific statements I intend to make (in the order of their importance to me):
- I am a huge fan of the greatest basketball player of all time.
- I may be getting older, but when it comes to fashion, I'm not old-fashioned!
- I appreciate nice and somewhat-expensive things.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I just feel really good about myself when I have a pair on! Not that I need them to feel good about myself, but there is no doubt that when I play basketball in them, when I preach in them, when I wear them with a nice outfit, or if I just have a pair on while running errands...I feel good. And shouldn't that be reason enough?!?