KEY POINTS

  • Michael Jordan's favorite sneakers is the Air Jordan 11
  • A former Air Jordan designer recalled how they teamed up with Jordan in creating the Air Jordan 11
  • Former Air Jordan designer said Jordan would say negative stuff about the Jordan 11 even though he loved it

One of former Air Jordan product designers revealed the fascinating story behind Michael Jordan’s favorite shoes.

The Jordan Brand has instilled a distinct feeling into minds of whoever is wearing them. From MJ’s playing years up to this day, the Jordans have been phenomenal as far as fly sneakers goes. But among the incredible collection of J’s, Jordan’s favorite was the Air Jordan 11 is his favorite.

Aside from being Jordan’s favorite, what made the 11’s so special was definitely a combination of never-before-seen design combined with the perfectly timed MJ mania, and one of the greatest seasons ever put together by an NBA franchise. On top of that, no other Air Jordan model comes close to the hype of the 11’s aside from the iconic Jordan 1’s and 3’s. And the Jordan Brand has done a great job of keeping that hype going for the past 25 years.

In an exclusive interview with Highsnobiety, former Nike designer Ken Black, who was also the product graphic designer/art director for the Air Jordan 11, revealed the fascinating story behind the NBA GOAT’s favorite sneakers.

According to Black, it began when Jordan was about to retire from the game of basketball for the first time. Black, along with fellow designer Tinker Hatfield, legendary Nike executive Howard “H” White, and several others set up a meeting with Jordan. It was one of the first meetings when Jordan was trying out the Jordan 11 prototype in late 1993. But what sticks to Black’s head was the fact that MJ made them wait for a very long time during the said meeting.

“I recall getting to [Jordan’s] condo for the meeting in Arizona and waiting forever for him. We were told he decided to make the return and finish another nine holes of golf,” Black recalled.

Black further elaborated on Jordan’s involvement and revealed that the NBA icon was very particular with how the 11’s felt like with his foot.

“[He was] very interested in the fit and feel. He was always super aware of what it felt like and how it positioned him [or] his foot on the floor,” Black said of Jordan.

Amid the making of the Air Jordan 11, Black admitted that “the sneaker was nowhere near complete, and looked fairly different than the finished product.” However, he was quite sure “Tinker had already shown a version of the shoe to MJ when the rest of the team weren’t around.”  Black then revealed that Jordan would usually say negative stuff about the shoes even though he really likes it.

“MJ would give him (Tinker) shit about the stuff he’d bring to share, even though he loved it,” Black revealed.

Michael Jordan Former basketball great Michael Jordan made more than $500 million from endorsement deals between 2000 and 2012, his lawyer revealed. Pictured: Jordan delivers a speech at a party celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan shoe line in Paris, June 12, 2015. Photo: Reuters