The Air Jordan 5 is one of the most extraordinary conceptual designs to take flight from the Jumpman’s hangar. Taking cues from Michael Jordan’s militant, take-no-prisoners attitude, architect Tinker Hatfield famously modelled the silhouette on America’s WWII P-51 fighter jets. Launched during the 1989–90 season, the Air Jordan 5 helped fuel Michael Jordan’s devastating aerial attack against the Motor City ‘Bad Boys’, as the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons locked in for a long and brutal post-season slugfest.
The sneaker also soared across the pop-cultural pantheon, the Jordan 5 appearing on television screens everywhere thanks to the success of shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Nike’s Mars Blackmon campaign. While other Jordan silhouettes may have been more financially lucrative or collaboratively active over the years, the AJ5 is still an absolute weapon, and irrevocably changed the flight path of Nike basketball from the moment it first hit the hardwood.