No sneaker ever looked as good as the Air Jordan 11, Concord blue edition. I remember watching Jordan rise in ’96 wearing a variety of colorways of this insanely crafted and designed flying apparatus. So when the Jordan Brand chiefs decided to drop the Concord retro edition last night (well, December 23, starting at 12:01 am est), which most followers heard about as early as August, my Jordan retro crack addiction kicked into high gear.
I jumped onto nike.com at exactly 8:58 pm pst – opening not one, but four browsers – to ensure my IP address would be as early in line as possible. Nothing. No picture in the “new releases” tab; no link on the home page. 9:08 – a picture appears in “new releases”…but clicking brings me to a blank page. The site is down. Footlocker.com is down. Hordes are collapsing every possible digital outlet. I can envision millions of snearkerheads hacking nike.com, and I’m lamenting the fact that some, who Jordan brand managers from Beaverton court for their overt enthusiasm online and at sneakerhead conventions, are already in and ordering away. @dabu1285 (former Jordan Brand client and one of the coolest people I’ve ever met) tweets “footlocker site down, another one bites the dust”, so I feel pretty good that even he hasn’t been able to get through.
Some perspective. There is more magic here than the mere fact that there are so many people coveting this most baddass sneaker ever invented that the Nike.com site has crashed. The brand sprung from the other-worldliness of MJ’s athletic domination and indominatable personality, and it’s now as relevant and pervasive 26 years later than it ever was. Old white guys like me still wear and covet the sneakers, millions upon millions of younger fans literally in every corner of the world can be found wearing apparel. If you’ve ever experienced MJ entering a room, it’s like the air is sucked out behind him as he floats through. Think Neo, twisting around bullets. As a 25-year marketer and media analyst, and now a strategist at a digital marketing agency, @wirestone [wire] stone, the only comparison I can think of to the Jordan retro phenomenon are lines forming around Apple stores in anticipation of i-anything introductions. I just can’t help but think that every brand would love to have this kind of passion for its products, for its history, for its presence, for its imagination. True, most brands were not birthed by larger-than-life, globally recognized icons. But the strategist in me thinks this is a standard to shoot for. Damn straight it is.