words // Zack Schlemmer
Back in 1994 when the Air Jordan X originally released, Michael Jordan was retired from the game of basketball. When Tinker Hatfield designed the shoe, he didn’t know Michael would eventually return, hence MJ’s career highlights were inscribed on the outsole as a tribute to his achievements on the court. At the time of the X's release, Michael was basically in the past—and this meant Nike needed players of the present to endorse the shoe. Much like the Air Jordan IX PE’s created in MJ’s absence for six players (Penny Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Kendall Gill, Harold Miner, Latrell Sprewell, and B.J. Armstrong), Nike made up some special colorways of the X for a select group of players in the league, as well. The retail versions of this crop of Air Jordan X PEs would go on to be known as the “City Series”, consisting of colorways for New York, Orlando, Seattle, Sacramento and Miami/Chicago. Let’s take a look at each of the players who wore the City Series on the NBA court.
Technically, the white/black/red Air Jordan X colorway you know as “Chicago” could actually be considered as "Miami", since they were first worn by Harold Miner of the Miami Heat as a PE. When Michael came back from retirement late in the 1994-95 season wearing the same colorway, people forgot that “Baby Jordan” ever wore them. They’ve been known as “Chicago” ever since. But then again, Scottie Pippen also wore this colorway before MJ returned (but not a PE like Miner’s), so there is a bit of a grey area.
Like the Miami/Chicago colorway, the Sacramento version has a bit of a tricky situation. A Kings player never wore the black-based colorway with purple accents that released at retail. However, Mitch Richmond did have a white/black/purple PE version in the same color block as the rest of the City Series.
Considered the favorite colorway of the City Series by many, the New York Knicks inspired colorway of the X was worn by a somewhat forgettable player: Hubert Davis. OK, so he was pretty decent back in the day, we’ll give him that. But we doubt if this colorway ever releases again there will be anybody copping a pair because “My favorite player Hubert Davis wore them”.
Penny Hardaway got his own PE of the Air Jordan IX. But by the time the X dropped, he was in the midst of his own signature line with models like the Air Up and Flight One. So it was teammate Nick Anderson that got hooked up with the X in an Orlando color scheme.
Seattle completes the City Series with a Sonics color up in green and yellow accents, worn on the court by Kendall Gill with his #13 embroidered at the heel. Who's ready for this colorway to come back?
Kendall Gill PE images via @chadwickvonlittle
Not officially a member of the City Series, but the “Powder Blue” pair releasing this weekend is closely associated with the University of North Carolina and was worn by Tarheels like Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace.