May 7th, 1995. Fans were glued to the TV screen as the Chicago Bulls went up against the Orlando Magic during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Michael Jordan was in the middle of an unexpected midseason return to basketball after he took time out from the sport to play baseball, a game he and his father bonded relationship over. Wearing No. 45, his baseball number, Jordan stepped onto the court sporting the Bulls away uniform. But it was what was on his feet that would forever change the landscape of sneaker culture.
Jordan wore a pair of unreleased Nikes that consisted of a high-cut patent leather overlay along with a white upper mesh with smooth leather detailing and dark concord accents. It was the sneaker that cultivated the must-buy experience; it was so exclusive that Nike was shocked he debuted them to the masses. The NBA caught wind of this and banned the shoe due to its failure to match the dress code. But what MJ did on May 7 not only changed the way sports fans viewed him as an immortal athlete—but it revealed himself to the sneakerheads as a footwear god for a new generation of rule breakers.