Year Released: 1993 Designer: Tinker Hatfield Most Popular Colorways: White/Black-True Red, Powder Blue, Charcoal, Cool Grey, Motorboat Jones First Retroed: 2002
Shortly after his father was tragically slain, exhausted from the long season and his celebrity status, Mike left the game. He then surprised the world by signing a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox and had a brief career with the Birmingham Barons, a White Sox affiliate. Tinker Hatfield was told to abandon the Air Jordan line and move on to new things. But Tinker didn't think Mike was done with hoops quite yet, and continued to design new Air Jordans as if he'd never retired. Without his passion and belief, the Jordan line might have died after the VIII. Jordan never donned the Jordan IXs on the court but Nike did hook him up with some player editions for the diamond.
The Air Jordan IX dropped in a traditional Bulls colorway, white and powder blue to pay homage to his days in Chapel Hill, and an Olive pair that didn't link Mike to any team but eventually became a favorite off the court. Even without His Airness' on-floor endorsement, the sneaker continued to sell well and even had football players affiliated with Jordan Brand asking for a special make-up for the turf. And even though No. 23 never lit up the competition in the originals, the famous Jordan statue outside of the Bulls arena has Jordan wearing the IX’s.
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