Remembering Ray Allen’s Player Edition Jordans
Russ Bengtson highlights the shoes that symbolize Allen’s phenomenal career as a Jordan athlete.
Ray Allen’s history with Jordan Brand is the history of Jordan Brand itself. He signed in 1997 at 22 years old — one of five players selected by Michael Jordan to wear the Jumpman in the NBA. He started off in team shoes and eventually graduated to wearing player edition Air Jordans after MJ retired in 1998. Allen would stay in Jordans for the rest of his career.
Nearly every significant achievement of Allen’s career happened while wearing player edition Jordans — his first playoff appearance, 10 All-Star Games and titles in 2008 and 2013. He started off in new models like the XIV and XV, and later wore a wide array of retros, including PE versions of each season’s flagship shoe and various XIs long coveted by collectors. He laced up a pair of black and gold Air Jordan XX8 SE PEs for the final game of his NBA career, game five of the 2014 NBA Finals.
With the exception of the white and green “Sugar Ray” XIIIs released in 2011 — to celebrate Allen breaking the NBA’s all-time three-point record — Allen’s player editions were created solely for him.
Here are a few of the player edition Air Jordans that best represent Allen’s phenomenal career as a Jordan athlete:
Air Jordan XVI PE
Allen wore the Air Jordan XVI PE back in 2001, when he won the Three-Point Shootout and played in his second NBA All-Star Game. Made in white with green and purple accents, the highlights are the “RAY 34” personalization on the shroud and the chameleon-like purple and green on the toe-cap.
Air Jordan XX PE
As a member of the Seattle Supersonics, Allen wore the Air Jordan 20, designed to commemorate 20 years of Air Jordan. While Mark Smith’s lasering on the strap referred to moments in Michael Jordan’s career, the green and gold on the upper and pods was all Seattle.
Air Jordan IX and XI PEs
In Boston, Allen laced up some of his most coveted models, including the IX and the XI (he even once wore one of each during pre-game warmups). Some, like the XIII that released at retail, were just white and green, but the most memorable of them incorporated gold, foreshadowing the 2008 championship.
Air Jordan XX8 PE
The final, flagship Air Jordan that Allen wore during his NBA career was the XX8, released in 2014 while he was a member of the Miami Heat. The white, perforated shroud was offset by accents of carbon fiber, metallic gold and university red.
21 years after becoming a Jordan athlete — nearly half a lifetime ago — Allen is being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. To commemorate the occasion, Jordan has produced a set of four PEs replicating those worn by Allen in different stages of his career, from his beginnings in Milwaukee to his championship years in Boston and Miami. Each model will have special Hall of Fame branding on the sockliner, in addition to the years he spent with the team on a tag inside of the tongue.
Four pairs of these celebratory Hall of Fame models have been made for Allen in his size.