The cement Air Jordan 4 makes its return on Saturday February 13th in its original form for the first time since 1999.
Nike and Air Jordan purists will be happy to have the shoe back again this time with the “Nike Air” branding on the heel tab. The “Jumpman” branding was an acceptable alternative for the early edition Jordan retro shoes, but so many people, including myself, found that it’s not really a retro of an original if it doesn’t follow the original template.
There was much discussion on social media when the Air Jordan 3 “88” released as it returned to that branding. Some were fine with the shoe one way or another, while another wouldn’t dare buy it without it. Perhaps the same will happen with the 4s.
I am a purist when it comes to the Jordan retro line. I want the shoe to look like it did AT original release, when MJ wore it.
The Air Jordan 4 will always be in my Top 5 list of shoes of all time. I can’t say where it falls on that list as it changes from time to time, but it will always have a place on it. Probably because I have a history with it.
I remember seeing the shoe for the very first time. I had gotten my 1988-89 College Basketball Preview issue of Sports Illustrated. It was the November 16, 1988 issue. There was a feature on Sonny Vaccaro and his relationship with Nike. There were pictures of true blue and fire red Air Jordan 3s on the background of the first few pages. Then I turned the page and there it was. Phil Knight, in a board room, wearing a Jordan 3 track suit, with a white and black pair of Jordan 4s. At first glance I wondered what they were, but upon closer inspection the Jumpman tipped it off. They HAD to be the new Jordans. But they wouldn’t be available for months. How could Nike have allowed this leak?
This was THE shoe which drove my desire. This silhouette.
Then came the All Star game in Houston. In the Astrodome of all places. Jordan led the East with 28 points, some flashy moves including an off the backboard dunk from of all people, Isaiah Thomas.
I wasn’t able to get a pair at original release. My first pair was actually the fire red which I got for Shooting Camp that summer, and somehow, I was able to track down a pair of cements still in August, which I wore for my Junior year of hoops. When I put this shoe on it was like a got into a Ferrari. The comfort, the flexibility, it was one of the lighter shoes of its time, and of course, it was a Jordan. This shoe gave me confidence, and it turned heads on the court. This shoe made me play better, jump higher. All the things that usually go through your mind when you get a new pair of shoes… in elementary school.
While the fire reds are long gone, I still have that pair of cement Air Jordan 4s. I can’t bring myself to get rid of them, even though I got a pair of those 99 retros. That 4, that pair of cement 4s were my favorite and to this day remain my favorite. It looked sexy in 1989 and still some 27 years later, it still looks just as sexy… on the court or on the street.
Yeah, the Air Jordan 4. For me, this is the shoe of all shoes.