Five Facts You Need to Know About the Air Jordan 14
The Air Jordan 14 is one of the most iconic silhouettes in the Jordan Brand’s expansive catalogue, worn by Michael Jordan himself in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. In an epic performance, Jordan scored the winning points to secure the championship in his last ever game for the Chicago Bulls. The grand moment was further immortalised in the game’s history by ESPN’s The Last Dance. MJ sure went out with a bang, and he did it all in the Air Jordan 14.
A 1998 Tinker Hatfield–designed classic, the AJ14 is now a must-have for any die-hard Jordan Brand collector. And the silhouette is currently enjoying a major resurgence in the mainstream thanks to the collaborative clout of Supreme, CLOT, and Aleali May – making it a key feature in both the Fall and Holiday Jordan Brand collections of this year.
With that resurgence in full swing, here are five facts you need to know about the Air Jordan 14.
Inspired by the Ferrari 550 M
Many Jordan Brand silhouettes have great stories behind their design, and the Air Jordan 14 is no exception. When Tinker Hatfield was coming up with the concept, he was inspired by Ferrari, in particular the 550 M model. The shoe was designed to imitate the car’s sleek body kit, with the rubber heel pulling from the Pirelli tyres, and the Jumpman logo replicating the iconic Ferrari crest. In 2014, long after the OG 1998 release, the AJ14 received a new all-red colourway called the ‘Ferrari’, brewing some major hype.
Street Gang Affiliated
Back in 1998, when the Air Jordan 14 debuted, sneakerheads weren’t the only ones that were riled up by MJ’s new signature model. The city of Salinas, in California, was concerned about the use of the roman numeral XIV on the sneaker because of the connection to the Norteños street gang. The mayor of Salinas at the time wrote a leather to Nike warning that the shoes may lead to violence.
The Norteños, whose territory is in Northern Cali, are known to use the number 14 and XIV roman numerals because the letter N is the 14th letter of the alphabet. Members would spray paint XIV in neighbourhoods that they controlled, showing allegiance to the gang. Police were worried that gang members may start to wear the shoes to identify themselves, which could cause problems for the people caught innocently rocking the new Jays in the wrong place at the wrong time. Peep the news report above!
MJ Wasn’t Supposed to Wear the Air Jordan 14 On-Court
Before they were shown to the public, Air Jordan 14 designer Tinker Hatfield sneakily slipped MJ a prototype of his new signature shoe. But when Hatfield asked the GOAT not to wear them, do you think he listened? After laying eyes on the AJ14, Jordan fell in love and wore them on his way to a sixth and final NBA Championship ring.
There were Eight OG Colourways
When the Air Jordan 14 first hit shelves on October 31 in 1998, the ‘Black Toe’ colourway was leading the charge. In total, there were eight OG colourways that originally touched down over the 1998-99 period, with five High and three Low renditions releasing to the public.
Following the ‘Black Toe’ was the ‘Varsity Red’ on January 1, 1999, while the ‘Oxidized Green’ hit in February of the same year. The legendary ‘Last Shot’ iteration was released on March 27, with the ‘Indiglo’ following suit. The Lows came later in 1999, with ‘Royal’, ‘Columbia’ and ‘Ginger’ colourways on offer.
Each Shoe contains Seven Jumpman Logos
As well as all of the Ferrari references, Hatfield left us with another hidden little easter egg regarding the amount of Jumpman logos on the shoe. The iconic silhouette of MJ striving towards the basket hits on the lateral, ankle, outsole, insole, heel, toe box, and metal lace tips, making a total of seven Jumpmen on each shoe in the pair, and seven plus seven equals… 14! Get it?