The Significance of Air Jordan Retro Cards
words // Luis Sanchez
Back in the day, retro releases from the Jordan Brand were more than just another Air Jordan release on the calendar.
The brand once took each year to celebrate a particular model, reissuing classics in multiple old and new colorways. The celebration would take us all the way back to the original days of particular classics, whether it was the Air Jordan III or the Air Jordan XI. Each release would include a retro card, detailing the history of the particular model and the entire Air Jordan line. Somewhere along the line though, the brand decided to go away with retro cards, eliminating one of the most unique elements of the Retro line.
With the amount of new collectors and fans we've seen come into the picture over just the past couple of years, the importance of the retro card has become that much more obvious. In some ways, the absence of a retro card is still a good thing, helping differentiate multiple retro models over the years. But even then, the need for the return of the retro card is still present.
First off, retro cards provide an introduction into the history of each particular model and the entire Air Jordan line. Just by looking at it, younger collectors can get to know each original Air Jordan colorway, and learn the story behind what makes each particular model great. Yes, many of these kids might already love and appreciate classics like the Air Jordan XI, but how many of them really know the stories behind what made them great? Retro cards helped provide this unique insight, helping collectors connect with Michael and the brand just through their love for a particular shoe.
Most importantly, retro cards are an added element to collecting that many definitely miss. Collectors that were once proud to have all of their retro cards in mint condition, now have one less element to look forward to when coming up on the latest Air Jordan retro release. This year's slew of Retro 6 colorways celebrating the model's 23rd anniversary would have been the perfect way to help share the story with collectors who weren't around during their original release or initial retro run back in the early 2000s.
Adding to the argument, many collectors would definitely appreciate a retro card here and there if they are going to continue to pay the rising retail prices the Jordan Brand keeps hitting all their classics with. If retro styles that once retailed for $125 could include a retro card, a $180 retro release could most certainly include one as well.
In the end, we might not ever see retro cards again. Perhaps the brand is relying on the internet and the endless amount of sneaker blogs to help impart the historical lessons of the models on new collectors. Mass production costs might have a lot to do with it too, but there's still plenty of fans and collectors who would most definitely appreciate the unique element of retro cards if they ever returned. Most importantly, the younger generation would also appreciate the history lessons, and find new ways to connect with all of the classic Air Jordan models.
What's your stance on the situation? Do you feel there is still a need for retro cards? Or would you just like to see the Jordan Brand introduce retro cards for models that we have yet to see one for, such as the Air Jordan XVI and Air Jordan XVII? Hit the comment section below to share your thoughts and view on the importance of retro cards to the iconic Air Jordan signature line.