words by Steve Jaconetta
First off let me apologize to everyone who missed out on the My Shoes, My Story for the month of November. I completely forgot to post a story due to all of the other fun and exciting things we are planning over here at Sole Collector! But fear not I am back once again so without further ado, here’s my story…
Let me take you back thirteen years ago to 1995. MJ was back in the Bulls uniform and gearing up for his first full season back in the NBA since his first “retirement.” This season marked the Chicago Bulls picking up where they left off by winning title number four and the 1st of the second three-peat. We all know that this also means the new Air Jordan model is set to come out.
The eleventh of the series to date, and man did these put a mark on the Air Jordan sneaker legacy in a big way. The first colorway released was the “concord’s,” white/black/dark concord. This was the first basketball shoe to feature patent leather on it. The reason behind the idea was that MJ wanted to create a sneaker that looked good both on the court and off, something he could throw on with a suit just as much as lace up for a game.
I remember the first time I saw this shoe, my jaw dropped and I instantly fell in love. I remember going to school the next day and asking people if they had seen it yet and talking about it until school was over. But that didn’t stop me, I went home and was still talking about it, this went on for awhile. All the way until early ’96, February to be exact. Michael had unveiled the second colorway for the XI’s, the white/columbia blue/black aka the “columbia’s” at the All-Star game. Yes these were nice and everything, but they had nothing on the concord’s in my opinion.
My best friend at the time we’ll call him “J”, came from a more fortunate family then me and always had nice sneakers. I always talked about sneakers and Jordan’s to him and really anyone who would listen to me. His shoe size was bigger than mine which was unfortunate as I would’ve loved to have some of his hand-me-downs (even if I don’t remember what they were today). But you can’t always get what you want, and I learned it the hard way this time.
So a few days after MJ unveiled the columbia’s, out of nowhere without even telling me my friend J came into class wearing them. I was like “WTF!?” as I felt he did it in spite of me since he knew he could get them, and I could not. I honestly don’t even remember him really saying he actually liked the XI’s in all the months and months we talked about them. Well what’s done is done, and thankfully he liked to wear all white sneakers more so he got the columbia’s. I’ll settle for that anyday because if he had gotten the concord’s I think I would’ve flipped.
Anyways, I knew it was a LONG shot but I had a proposition and figured i’d give it a shot. After school that day I went to my mother and said, “when can I get a pair of Air Jordan’s?” Stop bothing me about sneakers that you want but cannot have, you know as well as I do that we cannot afford them she said. I knew that response was coming as it’s been the same story for a few years now, but I had to try. So a few days later, in the middle of the week I had an idea.
I said mom, “you can take all my presents for the year birthday, Christmas whatever away if you get me the white and black Air Jordan XI’s.” Immediately she said no. It did sound like a great idea at the time, but I knew she couldn’t come up with the money for the shoes at the drop of a dime. So saddened I went into my room and tried to forget about her answer as well as my friend having what would become my favorite Air Jordan model of all time. The weekend hits, my mom is off from work and I didn’t have any plans with friends.
My mom comes in my room as tells me to get ready to go out with her to the mall to shop, so I did. When we got there she said, I want to take you up on your offer. Trying to hold back my joy (which is hard for a pre-teen), I said what offer. I will get you your Jordan’s you want and you won’t ask me for another thing again until next year. Acting mature I said deal and then lost it soon after and kept thanking her and smiling like i’d never smiled before.
I don’t know how she had got the money but she did, and looking back I am very thankful for whatever my mom did to do it. So first sneaker store in the mall was Champs Sports, I ran in there only to find out that the concord’s were sold out. I even looked around and the columbia’s were as well. I was saddened but didn’t get to down as there was a few more stores left to try. Store after store after store same story, the Air Jordan XI was completely sold out. We even tried another mall not that far away, same result.
I was completely heart broken. All I wanted was a pair of Air Jordan’s like any other kid, but I couldn’t have them. I felt as if I wasn’t allowed or something, or they’re too good for me. As a kid you like to bear everything on yourself and come up with the craziest answers to why you couldn’t have what you want and believe me, I did just that. After a countless period of sobbing, I looked my mother straight in her eyes and said, “Mom one day when these shoes come back out again I will get every single pair I can find.” To this day, my mother still remembers that moment.
Lets fast forward to 2000, the new millennium. I’m not in high school and even more into sneakers than ever. I now have been able to afford Jordan’s and once I could I never looked back. So Jordan Brand started the retro line a year prior and were gearing up to bring back the XI’s. Once I heard that news I was overwheled with joy. In October the first colorway would be released and it was to be the concord’s! That’s all I needed to hear, I immediately began to plan.
A week before they were scheduled to be released I got word that a store in my area was selling them now. I had never had a Jordan early before so what better than to have it be my favorite one. I had been saving for months and once I got that info I ran to that store (my dad actually drove since I was too young) and there they were. Sitting there sexier than ever right in front of me. I immediately grabbed them and asked them for a sz.12. A few short moments later the person came back with the box and handed them to me. Upon opening it I felt like I was in awe with the inspirational music playing in the background and everything.
Holding that shoe in my hand was a dream come true, a four year dream. I put them on and like magic they felt like they were made specifically for me and it was destiny. I put them back in the box, paid the man and went home. I brought them to my mom, called all my family and couldn’t wait to goto school on Monday (I got the shoes on a Saturday). Monday came real quick and the minute I stepped foot into the school I was like “hell yes bxxxxes!” Everyone knew me for always having all the Jordans by now so people always looked at my feet on the daily.
I turned so many heads that day i’m suprised I didn’t get expelled for causing all those broken necks! Some people couldn’t believe I had them so early while others didn’t even know they were coming out. I felt like a king and that whole week I was the happiest kid alive. Then I remembered something, something I promised my mother. I haven’t fulfilled it yet. I then did some research and set out a gameplan. Saturday morning the day of the release I had one incredible journey to take.
I ventured to every sneaker store I could possibly goto and got every pair of concord’s in my size I could get my hands on. Once I got home and showed my mother she was a loss for words and I said, “I told you I was going to do it mom and I don’t break promises.” As time went on and more and more XI’s were released, my promise grew larger than originally stated as I copped multiple pairs of every single colorway released to this day. Highs, lows, women’s, etc. To this day my XI collection is probably my biggest quantity of an Air Jordan model I have in my collection, and I am damn proud of it.
The white/black/dark concord Air Jordan XI changed my life forever and forever will be my grail. If you don’t know me it’s ok because you don’t have to look far to see my obsession. I mean just look at my username: airjordanxi for example, or my avatar below. Yes, the tattoo’s real and I got it on my 18th birthday (lookout for a better look at it in a future issue of Sole Collector magazine). I owe my whole passion for sneakers to this one shoe because if it never was released, there might never of been an “airjordanxi.”
Well, that’s my story and I hope you all enjoyed it. Got a story to tell of your own that you’d like to share with the world? Click here to find out exactly how to do so.
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