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The Joy of VI

Posted on February 11 2019

Numerology aside, the Air Jordan VI is our favorite sneaker of all time. Here is a look back at Michael Jordan and the Black/Infrared AJ6. 

Sunday, February 10th, 1991.  Charlotte, North Carolina – Cue the NBA on NBC theme song (composed by John Tesh, apparently titled “Roundball Rock”).  With a narrow victory over the West in his home state, Michael Jordan debuted the Black/Infrared Air Jordan VI at the 41st NBA All-Star game.  MJ continued his tradition of unleashing the black version of his signature shoe at the NBA’s marquee event (narrowly overshadowing teammate Craig Hodges’ domination of the three-point shootout the night before).

Thursday, April 25th, 1991.  Chicago, Illinois – Cue “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project (“From North Carolina, at guard, 6’6”…). Taking the best record in the franchise’s then 25-year history into the playoffs, and continuing their tradition of switching to all black shoes for the playoffs, MJ laced up the Black/Infrared 6s for the first time since the All-Star Game and the Bulls made short work of Patrick Ewing’s Knicks in three games (including the ferocious dunk above), followed by sending Charles Barkley’s Sixers home in five games, in time to prepare for their rematch against the hated Bad Boys of Detroit.  The Bulls had made it this far – the Eastern Conference Finals – the last two seasons, only to be beaten (mentally and physically) by the Pistons each time.  This year would be different, as the Bulls swept the defending two-time champions.  They beat Detroit so badly that during the clinching game their starters, who had already been benched as the game was far out of reach, left the floor without shaking hands before the game ended.

June 1991.  Los Angeles, California -  Cue Gary Glitter’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Part 2)” (HEY!).  Defeating the Lakers in five games, the Chicago Bulls are World Champions!  It took MJ seven seasons to get the ring, but the torch was officially passed from legends Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to regular season and NBA Finals MVP Michael Jeffrey Jordan.  In case his five scoring titles the previous five seasons weren’t enough proof of this, “The Switch” solidified his status as the best on the planet.

Saturday, February 17th, 2019.  28 years later, a proper retro of the shoe MJ won his first of six(!) NBA titles in, the Black/Infrared Air Jordan VI returns to coincide with the All-Star Game in…you guessed it…Charlotte (on Michael’s birthday weekend, no less).  Drawing inspiration from the styling and wing of MJ’s Porsche 911, this was the legendary Tinker Hatfield’s fourth Air Jordan design.  Since the original in 1991, four retro versions of varying materials, colors, and features have been issued.  This 2019 version marks a true replica, with the combined return of the nubuck leather, 3M highlights, Nike Air branding on the heel, dual branded lace locks to “mirror” the OG.

Personally, these kicks were the start of an expensive sneaker obsession.  Having started playing ball in fifth grade during the 1990-91 season with a pair of Bulls logo Converse from a mail order Sears catalog, Mom and Dad spoiled me by taking me to the St. Charles Mall to get my first pair of Air Jordans for the sixth grade year (original box pictured right, above.  Grade school size 6, coincidentally).  Unfortunately, they were all sold out of the Black/Infrared pairs, but I was able to “settle” for the white pair.  Our sixth-grade boys basketball team didn’t win a game that year, but at least I looked respectable in defeat.  We dared not wear the shoes outside (until the season ended, of course).  On an unrelated note, and since I cant write anything without mentioning Pearl Jam, it turns out Eddie Vedder is quite fond of these shoes as well, sporting them back in 1992 during their MTV unplugged performance, and as recent as Wrigley Field last August.

All of this brings us to our tribute to the Chicago Bulls six championships and the Air Jordan VI.  The 6 Rings Hoodie is made with “reclaimed" numbers directly from the Chicago Bulls (best not to ask questions, but Cristiano Felicio isn’t missing any current jerseys), along with a custom red and black Chicago flag patch on the sleeve, an inner tag inspired by the tag of the Champion jerseys of the 90s, and lace locks on the drawstrings reminiscent of the Vs and VIs. 

6 Rings Hoodie available now at 6 Clothing

Black/Infrared Air Jordan VI available at Nike SNKRS and other retailers on 2/16, retail $200.

 

Sources:

Nike/Air Jordan

The Encylopedia of Air Jordans

Learning to Fly: The World Champion Chicago Bulls Rise to Glory Official 1991 NBA World Championship Video VHS

Complex.com

Sneakernews.com