Welcome To The Family, Cameron
Cameron Jordan talks about joining Jordan Brand, New Orleans and raising young sneakerheads.
Entering his ninth year as a pro, defensive lineman Cameron Jordan has been one of the most consistent playmaking forces, not just on defense, but in the entire league. He’s played 16 games every season — a rarity for any pro football player — and he’s logged at least 45 tackles and 7.5 sacks in all years after his rookie campaign.
Cameron’s top-tier performance, staunch leadership and outgoing personality secured his role as a captain with the New Orleans team that drafted him in 2011, and the 6’4’, 287-pound defensive end is only getting better. Cameron is coming off of back-to-back Pro Bowl selections (four total), including a second-team All-Pro 2018 season and a first-team All-Pro 2017 season with 62 combined tackles (48 solo), 13 sacks, 28 quarterback hits, 11 passes defended, two forced fumbles and an interception. As a former basketball player and hoops fan, he considered that his triple-double year.
Cameron witnessed and learned high-level commitment, dedication and passion at an early age. His father, Steve Jordan, spent 13 years playing tight end in the pros, all with the same team, and made six consecutive Pro Bowls in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Cameron also watched as his father helped his community through camps and other youth-focused programs.
Today, activism is a big part of Cameron’s compassionate character, and he spends a lot of his off-nights during the season volunteering at schools, hospitals, military bases and other places in the city. In 2017, he was nominated for the league’s prestigious Man of the Year award.
When the former Arizona high school standout is not racing kids in the 40 yard dash or destroying quarterbacks’ seasons, he’s probably focused on which outfit he’s going to put together next. His shoe collection is packed with classics such as the Air Jordan XI “Bred,” and it’s likely about to get a lot more exclusive. Welcome to the family, Cameron.
Over the years, we’ve seen you in numerous pairs of Air Jordans. What does it feel like to be a part of the Jordan Brand family now?
I remember buying and rocking my first pair of Air Jordans in college. They were an all-black pair of IVs. I might have been gifted a pair earlier in high school. There was a pair of Jordan VIIs that dropped, and even though I wanted them so badly, my parents refused to get them for me. Being part of the culture in high school, your ‘fit was exclusive if you had a pair of Js on.
The Jumpman has grown to mean so much more than basketball, and now it’s on the field during football games. What does the Jumpman symbolize to you?
Initially, the Jumpman symbolized exclusivity. If you could get a pair, it meant so much. As college football players, we were a Nike team, but our basketball team was Jordan. Jordan Brand is like the pinnacle of standards.
“Jordan Brand is like the pinnacle of standards.”
In the preseason alone, we’ve seen you bring out different Air Jordan cleat silhouettes. What does it feel like to be representing the Jumpman on the field?
I rocked the Is and XIs, and I think I had a pair of VIIs around. It feels special. The comfort of the AJI cleats is amazing, and they have a wide base and grip that’s perfect for a defensive lineman. Being able to put something like that on, wearing color-coordinated Js, gives you a little bit of extra sauce. The Jordans I wore during my last game were cream-colored AJI cleats with a gold Swoosh — fire for the away game. They’re light, too, so you can really play in them.
There’s a certain style and swagger that comes with being a Jordan Brand athlete. How do you describe that?
MJ was the greatest basketball player, and I feel like when I come on the field, I’m definitely one of the best defensive ends. I call myself the best overall defensive end in the game, and I like to play that way every game. Air Jordan kicks reflect that mentality.
New Orleans is now home to a few Jordan Brand family members with you, your teammate Mike Thomas and also Zion Williamson. What makes New Orleans so special to you?
New Orleans is home. It’s where I had my kids and where I first got drafted. It means so much more to be able to stay and see how the team progresses. We’ve had four playoff runs with the team.
I’ve witnessed some of the greatest athletes here. It’s like a family. The people here have the most positive state of mind. If we just had a losing season, they’re like, “We’ll get ‘em next season.”
Since your rookie year, you’ve been dedicated to giving back to the community. Why is that so important to you?
Growing up, my dad was doing exactly that, just being part of the Minnesota community. He was always giving back. We moved back to Arizona when I was five or six, and he was still putting on clinics, teaching tapes and volunteering his time to different high schools. He always had a mindset of giving positive light to people.
My mother is also big on giving love to people who are both close to us and nearby. If she sees another family in the neighborhood hurting, she wants to help. It’s always like, “I heard she was sick, let me send this over. I heard they’re having a food drive, let’s go push this food drive.” Her philanthropic efforts aren’t talked about as much, because my dad was a 13-year NFL vet.
When you see so much love, care and giving from both sides of the family, it propels you to do the same. I’ve been blessed with more than enough. Why not try to inspire somebody next to me?
You and Mike now have access to some of the hottest shoes out. Who has the better sneaker game?
That’s me, it’s a no brainer. It’s not even close. I’m trying to get down to just a shoe closet, because the shoes have spilled out. They were taking over my closet, my office and my luggage room, so I’ve got some work to do. I think I got it all down to 800 pairs of shoes at one point a couple years ago.
You’ve mentioned before that you saved up stipends to buy your first pair of Air Jordan IVs in college, but we see that your children are already laced up in fresh pairs. Have you influenced them to become young sneakerheads?
My son is already a sneakerhead. He’s four, and he’ll be like, “Daddy, you got new shoes?” Then he’ll be like, “Dad, do I have new shoes?” He lights up when I get him and his sister new pairs. He’s growing, so he’s changing shoes every three months! I used to buy a couple sizes at a time. He’d wear one pair then grab the next size the following week. So we started stacking them higher so he couldn’t reach ‘em. He has a gray pair of Xs that he’s so in love with; he doesn’t see any other shoe right now.
Any pairs you have your eye on?
If they make me some IIs or XIIs, that’d be overly exclusive. I love the Just Don IIs. That’s probably my favorite shoe to throw jeans on with. They stand out so well with whatever you rock. I’m just excited to get my own customized colorway for the season.