In 1988, there was some of concern over at Nike that one of their hottest players, Michael Jordan, was preparing to leave the brand. Thankfully for both parties, Tinker Hatfield came up with the Air Jordan 3, which went on to cement (no pun intended) the most successful partnership in athletic footwear history.
The following year, Nike and Tinker stepped their game up once again, delivering the Air Jordan 4. The result was a much more technical, performance driven design than Jordan’s previous signature models. Save for the visible Air pocket in the heel which was carried over from the 3, the Jordan 4 was an entirely new concept, both aesthetically and technically. It features rubber mesh panels throughout the upper for improved breathability, as well as pull-tab wings at the top of each lacing system for a better fit. Truly ahead of its time, the Jordan 4 was one of the first basketball sneakers to offer a lock-down addition.
And on this particular day in 1989, Mike made the AJ4 shine. On Januay 25, the Bulls faced the Philadelphia 76ers in a road game. In the end, Philly was able to push through and grab a 120-108 W over a young MJ and his squad. But during the game, Jordan was beginning to write his legacy, scoring his 10,000th point in just his 5th NBA season. Jordan shot 56% for a total of 33 points, and also dished out twelve assists.
It would be two more years before Jordan won his first NBA Championship in the AJ6, but this classic moment in the Jordan 4 helped to silence any and all doubters.