Last Sunday, the sports community celebrated Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday. Television networks aired special coverage, websites put together tributes, and Jordan Brand officially released the Air Jordan XX8. But let’s travel back ten years to Jordan’s final season in the NBA. It was February 21, 2003, just days after his fortieth birthday, Mike was on the court as a Washington Wizard, the team he played for throughout his second comeback.
Talk about going out in style. Jordan went absolutely ham on the New Jersey Nets with 43 points, shooting 18-for-30 and adding another ten rebounds. During the ’90s, this would have been just another night for Michael, but in 2003 he had just turned 40, which made him the first NBA player to ever score forty or more points at that age. Considering the fact that most players would have retired altogether at a younger age, it’s no surprise that the record is still in place a decade later.
As always, Jordan Brand had Michael properly laced in the highest performing footwear. The Air Jordan 18 was inspired by the Lamborghini Murciélago and featured a unique one-piece upper. This construction created both a striking aesthetic feel and a sort of lockdown that had yet to be utilized on basketball sneakers at the time. The inside was built ready for the champ, utilizing a carbon fiber Comfort Control Plate as well as dual-layer Zoom Air cushioning. Unfortunately for fans of this 2000’s style, it’s only seen one re-release, as part of the 5/18 Collezione Package in 2008.