words // Luis Sanchez
If it wasn't for retro footwear, the sneaker industry would be a totally different ballgame right now. Style-minded releases would be seen rarely from the major athletic companies, and performance would be the only driving force behind footwear. While that wouldn't be that bad at all, to be honest, there's nothing like the nostalgia of retro footwear. Just when you think every classic in the book has been reissued, Nike, adidas and the rest of the giants reach deeper into their vaults for yet another forgotten gem.
Even for a company who's found a reason to retro just about anything like the Jordan Brand, there's still plenty of gems that have yet to be reissued and celebrated.
Among those gems is the Air Jordan XVII, an Air Jordan model I personally would like to see return more than any other. The Air Jordan XVII shook things up during their original introduction thanks to their at-the-time outrageous $200 retail price, and their one-of-a-kind briefcase style packaging.
From the Ray Allen and Gangstarr commercials to dudes stunting with the briefcase in hand at school, I have plenty of memories with one of the most popular Air Jordan signature models of the later years. I also owned the White / Carolina Blue XVII Low, and the 'Lightning' XVII Low that was worn by MJ in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. To this day, those still stand as my biggest steal ever when I picked them up for just $30 at a Sports Authority back in Miami.
For one, the Air Jordan XVII is one of the most memorable models worn by MJ during his not-so-memorable run with the Washington Wizards during the early 2000s. Not only were they on his feet for his first ever game back, but one of MJ's most memorable games as a Wizard was with the Air Jordan XVII on his feet. At the age of 38, he became the NBA's oldest player to score 50 points in a game when he dropped 51 on the Hornets. What better way to celebrate MJ's Wizards days than a '50 Point' edition of the 'College Blue' Air Jordan XVII?
The Air Jordan XVII also features a cushioning set-up that could certainly work for plenty of hoopers today. Featuring a TPU encased visible blow-molded Air unit unit in the heel and Zoom Air in the forefoot, the Air Jordan XVII would definitely be all over NBA hardwoods if ever reissued. Last season even saw Monta Ellis lace up the original White/Red Air Jordan XVII for a regular season game with the Milwaukee Bucks. Plenty of PE versions could also be created to celebrate the return of the sometimes overlooked Air Jordan.
Inspired by an Aston Martin and Jazz music, among other things, the Air Jordan XVII also features a timeless design that'll appear innovative for years to come. Considering the amount of new generation collectors who weren't around for the XVII's original introduction and surprisingly, barely remember MJ's days with the Wizards, the Air Jordan XVII's un-dated design could definitely capture the hearts of the younger generation.
With that said, it's clear few other yet-to-be-reissued models hold a better argument to return than the Air Jordan XVII, in my eyes. The 2002 Air Jordan was released in nothing but amazing colorways that worked with their timeless design, was a performance beast on the court, and represented some memorable moments from Michael's final run in the NBA with the Wizards.