Sports Business: The latest Brand Jordan signature sneaker, the Jordan 29, unveiled in New York, set to hit stores in September:
Via Jeffrey Martin
Beaverton, Ore. – Tinker Hatfield is discussing his latest creation, the Air Jordan XX9, and he wishes there were a fancier origin story, something more romantic about the lightest shoe in the line. He has designed 19 versions of Nike’s most iconic shoe, drawing inspiration from motorcycles, race cars and airplanes.
Now, he’s tasked with topping himself.
He, like Nike and subsidiary Jordan Brand, is competing against an incredibly popular and lucrative past. But the challenge is to create something as equally enduring for the future.
“I was literally thinking about designing more and more with computer technology in mind and I was thinking about pixels,” Hatfield told USA TODAY Sports. “High-definition? Sort of, yeah.”
The XX9, introduced Thursday in New York City, features 25 million pixels on its performance woven upper. It’s crafted by Italian artisans using a two-headed jacquard weaving machine normally for high-quality labels or silk neckties — definitely not shoes. It goes beyond appearance, however. From a structural standpoint, each pixel has a specific function and reason for being.
Wright Thompson with an inside private look at the life of Bobcats owner Michael Jordan at the age of 50:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Five weeks before his 50th birthday, Michael Jordan sits behind his desk, overlooking a parking garage in downtown Charlotte. The cell phone in front of him buzzes with potential trades and league proposals about placing ads on jerseys. A rival wants his best players and wants to give him nothing in return. Jordan bristles. He holds a Cuban cigar in his hand. Smoking is allowed.
“Well, s—, being as I own the building,” he says, laughing.
Back in the office after his vacation on a 154-foot rented yacht named Mister Terrible, he feels that relaxation slipping away. He feels pulled inward, toward his own most valuable and destructive traits. Slights roll through his mind, eating at him: worst record ever, can’t build a team, absentee landlord. Jordan reads the things written about him, the fuel arriving in a packet of clips his staff prepares. He knows what people say. He needs to know, a needle for a hungry vein. There’s a palpable simmering whenever you’re around Jordan, as if Air Jordan is still in there, churning, trying to escape. It must be strange to be locked in combat with the ghost of your former self.
Smoke curls off the cigar. He wears slacks and a plain white dress shirt, monogrammed on the sleeve in white, understated. An ID badge hangs from one of those zip line cords on his belt, with his name on the bottom: Michael Jordan, just in case anyone didn’t recognize the owner of a struggling franchise who in another life was the touchstone for a generation. There’s a shudder in every child of the ’80s and ’90s who does the math and realizes that Michael Jordan is turning 50. Read the rest of this entry