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Michael Jordan taps Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade as heir to Air Jordan; discusses comparisons


nikejordan2.jpgA select group of media was invited Wednesday night to Temple House -- at 16,000 square feet, the largest single family home on South Beach -- for the unveiling of Michael Jordan’s newest shoe. We gathered in a white room with a concrete floor, where Jordan Brand logos were projected on white curtains. A video of Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade being interviewed for a spot on the Brand Jordan team was shown and it even poked fun at the spelling of Wade’s first name.

And then, we got to see the Air Jordan 2010. The 25th anniversary shoe in the popular Jordan Brand line is constructed for performance, but also pushes the envelope of design as the brand’s been doing now for more than two decades. Even Michael Jordan seemed a little stunned at the brand's longevity.

This one’s even got a hole – a window, if you will – in the side that allows sneaker fans and shoe aficionados into the Jordan Brand world. But only a little bit. Jordan Brand is calling it the “first see-through performance basketball shoe featuring a unique thermoplastic urethane window.”

That hole gives fans a glimpse into the line, but “doesn’t take away from the performance of the shoe,” Jordan said of the shoe designed by Tinker Hatfield, Nike vice president of special projects/design, and Mark Smith, Jordan Brand creative director. “We want to be trendy, we want to be stylish yet we still want to be a high performance shoe,” Jordan said.

The shoe will be released on Feb. 13 and is expected to retail for $170.

While other NBA players have worn Air Jordans on the court, the 2010 is being released with the idea it will be worn by a current player. Jordan Brand tapped Wade this summer for its elite brand that also includes Derek Jeter, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Wade had been the face of Converse for six years, but relished the idea of joining the brand and its already established team. It's expected he will eventually have his own signature shoe in the Jordan Brand line, but for now, he's honored to be heir to Air.

Jordan was asked about Wade being compared with him. He cautioned that he and Wade didn’t play at the same time.

“Two individuals that never played in same era,” Jordan said. “Yes, we’re very, very similar. Yes he has characteristics that I have … Is he Michal Jordan? No. Am I D Wade? No.”

Jordan went on to say his brand had been interested in Wade for years, but the Heat guard was already tied up with Converse. That changed this summer. Both Converse and Jordan Brand are owned by Nike.

“He has similar passions for basketball,” Jordan said of Wade. “I played in Chicago, he grew up in Chicago … I was very happy we had an opportunity to work with him. “

Jordan also said while comparisons are entertaining to debate, they’re not fair given how times have changed.

“I would give my one leg to be able to go out and play with today’s athletes,” he said. “Yeah, I’d love to play with Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James. You sit there and think what if, what if … I didn’t have a chance to play with Jerry West, I’d love to play with Jerry West or Elgin Baylor. And today’s athletes didn’t have a chance to play against myself or Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. That’s just the way things happen … We get caught up in these debates. And we live through them.”

And then he added with a chuckle, “But he is wearing my shoe, I’m not wearing Dwyane Wade’s shoe.”

Categories: Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Shoes (15)


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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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