THE AIR JORDAN 13 – AN ALTERNATE ENDING
Michael Jordan and the unexpected ending for the AJ 13 'Bred' in the '98 playoffs. Art: Damion Scott
ART: DAMION SCOTT
Ain’t nothing like history. Especially when it decides to repeat or remix itself.
See, back in the mid 80’s the basketball team from Boston began what became known as the return to the “black out.” It was a movement built around them wearing black shoes.
A tradition started by a Celtic guru coach in the 50’s faded away into various shades of green. And that was before Celtic Green became officialize’d as an official color way.
So when Jordan took the mentality (and the practice of it) to a whole extra playoff level, it erased the original concept of solidarity that black sneaks were meant to have.
Here’s the funny thing about the life of the 13 “Breds” and the life they didn’t live; on how they had their original purpose stolen from them in the 1998 playoffs.
While Jordan was victorious on-court in New Jersey, Charlotte and Indiana while defending his five crowns, once in Utah, for what proved to be his final game in true opposition territory, he (as he did in Game 4 in Chicago) decided to wear a model of the year ahead to finish off the game.
Those 14s — all black, no doubt — came to be known as “The Last Shots.” Those 14s gained holy grail status simply by virtue of being the sneaks Jordan had on-feet when he hit what millions still consider the last shot of his career. Even though it wasn’t.
That moment was supposed to belong to the black and red 13’s. When we see that image of Jordan “statue-ing” a Utah player in Game 6, the ‘Breds’ were supposed to be a part of that. It was supposed to be the shoe that culminated Jordan’s career, the one that bookended his greatness for the “Black Toe” to “Black Cat.”
But just like life, a sneaker life… interrupted.
Maybe instead of becoming known as the ‘Breds’ the name that should have been reserved once those playoffs began in ’98 for the 13s should have been “The End.” Because that’s really what it was supposed to be.