words by Steve Jaconetta
The last time you saw “My Shoes, My Story” we let our readers have a chance to share one of their stories. If you missed it you can check it out here. Now for the first time in 2009 I’m back with another edition of my own.
It was November 2003, I received a little something in the mail from Jumpman23.com. It read:
“You’ve heard the buzz….
You’ve read about it in the Jordan magazine…
AND NOW IT IS HERE….”
As I opened the mini booklet all the way up I saw a picture of a hoody, a hat and a brand new amazing colorway of the Air Jordan Retro 12. This would mark the first online exclusive release package from Jordan Brand ever. Inside the booklet contained everything you needed to know to purchase this limited product. Also, only registered Team Jordan members on Jumpman23.com received this literature in the mail. So if you weren’t in the “know” then you had no idea about this release.
The price for this 3-piece set was $200, which included a matching hat and hoody along with the sneakers. The release date was set for Monday, November 24th, 2003 and would be available exclusively online at a specific URL. The only way you would know the address to the site was by receiving this booklet, knowing people or better yet the slight increase of the sneaker world online via message boards and such. I remember this like it was yesterday, the buzz was crazy and people were going nuts over them. I’m not going to lie, I wanted them really bad as well. So I saved up enough money and such as I knew for sure I as going to get at least two sets, one to wear and one to keep deadstock for the collection. The limit was three sets per household, so eventually I went all out and was hoping to get the maximum of three.
As the day drew closer, I began to figure out a gameplan. I found out that they were releasing in the evening on the East Coast so I knew I was basically all set as long as I was online and ready to go well in advance of the actual time. I kept two windows open on my internet, one for the sneakers and the other for reading posts on numerous message boards that were 100s of pages long with replies. There was no way I was going to miss out on these so I wanted to make sure I had the heads up as much as everyone else did. Now, here is where all the problems began…
People had the link up in their web browser hours in advance and even though nothing would come up, it didn’t stop people from refreshing the page in hopes they would get in before others did. That turned out to be a DISASTER! I for one was doing the same thing but not every minute like others were. So as the clock struck the official time I refreshed the page and got in! But the site was going so slow – I mean incredibly slow. I couldn’t get past the first page if I recall correctly. So I opened up another window and tried it again only to get a message that the site was down. I was like WTF!? Immediately I started to panic a little and kept trying to refresh the link as well as a few “shortcut” links people posted on the forums and such, but to no avail.
Minutes quickly became hours and I was worried to say the least. I tried calling the customer service number but everyone else was thinking the same thing as me so lines were backed up for hours! I continnued to read on message boards a few lucky people actually got through to the site when it originally launched and got their confirmation e-mails that they indeed were some of the lucky few to successfully place an order before the site crashed. As it soon hit midnight and I was still on the computer, we finally got word on the issue. People confirmed that the site had indeed crashed due to the overwhelming response of people trying to access it all at the same time. So they were working on the issue, but of course they did not tell us when the site would be back up and running.
Personally I don’t know how they could not have prepared for this but who knows. So after hearing the news, when you would refresh the page a message would pop up confirming that the site was down and they were doing all they could to fix the issue. Problem here was no one knew when it would be up so this quickly and unfortunately became an all nighter for myself and many others. Glued to the forums, we all just talked it up trying to stay awake while refreshing the page every now and then in hopes the site would be back up. Now I was in college at the time so as it soon became 6am I had to figure out what I was going to do, miss school to stay on the computer all day or go to school in hopes that the shoes would not pop up for sale until I got home.
Well lucky for me they updated the message saying the date for the site re-launch would be two days from now, once again in the evening, so that was a moment of relief. Tough part was trying not to think about these sneakers for the next few days. This distraction made the days go by slower than molasses. FINALLY, the day was here and I did not have school so I was ready to go. I hopped back into the forums and had another page open like the first time around and now all I had to do was wait. Yes, I too was refreshing the page ahead of time again (others were as well). I knew that the site could crash again but it was a risk I was willing to take to get in and get my pairs.
Time came once again and the site was still not up. No word yet as to why, we just figured they were still working on the site. It felt like this was never going to happen. Myself and others were refreshing the page all the time as well as trying to contact customer service once again to find out what was going on. Then out of nowhere the message was updated telling everyone to basically stop refreshing the page because they caused the site to stay down and the day was delayed for another 24 hours. Talk about another “kick to the nuts” so-to-speak. Well at least I could go to sleep like normal but geez, this was becoming more of a hassle than anything else. Many people gave up a long time ago, but I was determined. Whether I was getting all three or just one, I was getting them. Nothing was going to stop me!
Was the third time a charm? Thankfully yes! The site launched with only a minor delay and I was able to get in and order all three sets I wanted, all in my size of 12 with the hoodies all in my size as well but unfortunately for some reason the smallest size they had listed in the hat was a 7 1/2. I at the time wore a 7 to a 7 1/8 so I was slightly upset as they said they would have a 6 7/8 through 8 for sale. Oh well, I had to settle with the 7 1/2. It was a small price to pay as I really just wanted the sneakers and considered the hat and hoody a bonus. The anticipation of getting through all the steps of checkout was killing me as the server was going extra slow as one could imagine because 1,000s of people were all trying to do the same thing at the same time. Then it finally happened, I got to the last page where it stated my order has been successfully placed!
I immediately checked my e-mail to see if I got a confirmation and I did. I even called customer service to check my order to make sure there was no problems and alas, there wasn’t. So I was all set, it’s all over. All I had to do was wait a few days for the follow-up e-mail confirming the order was shipped and such. I received the e-mail and to my surprise I was going to have my sneakers before Black Friday. On Black Friday the first LeBron James Air Force 1 lows were releasing so of course I was heading over to the mall because one of my spots got them and had my pair on the side. As soon as the shoes came in the mail I couldn’t wait to try them on. They looked amazing and the hoody was nice too. The hat was alright, I tend to only like/wear New Era fitteds and this was a flexfit, not to mention it also was not my size. The Jordan hats ran a size big too so the hat was HUGE on me.
I then checked out the site to see if there was still any shoes left and to my surprise there were! They even had up my hat size now too! That was a little disturbing but oh well. A friend of mine ordered a set then and got the hat in my size so no biggie. Black Friday came, I got my sneakers and went to check out all the other sales in the mall as well as the sneaker stores to flaunt my kicks. Back then before all the bootlegs, an exclusive meant exclusive and people were going nuts when they saw them. Asking me all these questions like where’d you get them, how’d you get them, when did they drop, are they coming out in stores etc. I loved it! Nowadays the game has changed so much that it doesn’t matter like it used to; I personally miss those days.
Fast forward to the present time. We are only about a month away from the official re-release of the “Nubuck” Air Jordan Retro 12s. I personally did not understand why there are re-retroing them, but no one really understands Jordan Brand. It just sucks that everyone who went through hell to get these now six years ago can just see people go to their usual spots that carry the limited releases, scoop a pair up for $150 and see people everywhere rocking them. Luckily for us, this year’s version is not exactly the same. Slight differences in shape as well as other things have me glad I have my pairs from 2003.
I’m sure I’ll pick up a pair for the collection, but I’ll continue to wear my 2003s and cherish them even more now. I went through that big mess, and I have no regrets at all. Would I do it again? If you asked me this question before 2008, I would say yes in a heartbeat. But now with the wave of re-sellers and such, it’s not as easy to obtain the exclusive sneakers anymore which sucks for us all who actually plan to keep them rather than flip them. So my advice to all those who have the 2003s and were upset about the re-release is, don’t be. The 2003s “Nubucks” are much better than the 2009 “UNC’s” and always will be.
I hope you all enjoyed my story this month, I’m sure many of you remember this like myself. Some of you probably did the same thing as me or close to it. Enjoy the pictures below, and take a trip back down memory lane. If you wish to have a chance to see your story on our site, e-mail your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and for more info, please check out the thread in our forums.