Having just come off a painful exit from the NBA Playoffs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls had to have felt that they were on the brink of being able to call themselves champions. Expectations were undoubtedly never higher during his career and closing in on age 30, time was certainly beginning to become a precious commodity in His Airness’ chase for his first ring.
The 1990-1991 season was slated to be yet another full of gravity-defying highlights and Michael did not disappoint. Outfitting his feet during his new campaign was the Nike Air Jordan VI, one of the most popular and timeless pair of kicks from MJ’s legendary sneaker line.
Originally released with a leather and synthetic upper, Tinker Hatfield designed this shoe with sleek, simple details that by all accounts, worked out marvelously. We can see a collection of perforations throughout the midfoot and padded ankle collar. The tongue has a generous two-hole pull tab and the heel tab was inspired by the rear spoiler on MJ’s then, slant-nosed Porsche. The midsole was composed with polyurethane and internally, a Vis-Air unit was installed in the heel with an Air unit in the forefoot. The outsole was built with a combination of clear and solid rubber. With a lacelock in place to maximize a secure fit, Mike did some very special things while wearing his sixth signature sneakers.
Obviously, the most noteworthy accomplishments MJ achieved were winning his very first Larry O’Brien trophy by defeating Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers and capturing both the league and Finals MVP trophies that year as well. The image of Mike holding the golden ball that he worked so tirelessly to acquire is forever going to be one of the most indelible images in sports history.
Getting back to the awe-inspiring highlights though, we all remember the classic image of Mike going up for a dunk against the Lakers in Game 2, but switching the ball from his right hand to left and softly laying it in. Among other things, there’s also the destructive facial dunk he served up on Patrick Ewing after spinning back along the baseline. While MJ’s highlight reel is clearly an endless collection of images that still make all of our jaws drop, those two are amongst the most viewed and reflected upon.
Of the most sought-after Retro pairs of the Nike Air Jordan VI, the ‘Infrared Pack’ definitely resides close to the top, if not at the head of the line. Where would you say the VI’s sit in your personal Air Jordan rankings?
[Original Release: 1990; Weight: 18.0 oz; Players: Michael Jordan]