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NBA

Top 25 MJ Shoes

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25 Slickest MJ Shoes Ever

MJ Opening Slide
Rob Grabowski-US Presswire

To think that Michael Jordan was drafted into the NBA only wanting to wear ADIDAS brand sneakers is mildly hilarious when you think about it. After all, His Airness amassed himself quite the fortune with his seemingly endless line of "Air Jordans."

After being selected 3rd overall by the Chicago Bulls out of the University of Southern Carolina, the last thing (and shoe company) on Jordan's mind was Nike. At that point the sneaker producer was still a rising star, playing second fiddle to the likes of ADIDAS and Converse. After Jordan's first choice (ADIDAS) failed to make any sort of offer, he was forced to go with his second choice. Converse.

After a single sit-down with the company, Jordan decided to pass. Converse already had deals with Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Julius Erving and Jordan wasn't sure how he'd fit in with that group.

Enter Nike.

After years of outstanding monetary growth, Nike had hit a bit of a brick wall by 1984, and they went to Jordan for help. How badly did Nike want him on board? After one meeting the company offered MJ an unheard of $500,000 in cash plus stock options. All told, Jordan would earn close to $7 million for wearing the Swoosh.

It took a pretty penny to land the rookie back then, but it has proven to be a lucrative deal for both parties involved. In 2012 alone, the Jordan brand sold an obscene $2.5 billion worth of shoes in retail, and 58% of all basketball shoes purchased in the US bare the Jordan branding.

So after 25 years of sneakers, which are the 25 coolest?

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Air Jordan VII Olympic

Olympic
Air Jordan VII Olympic

It's one thing to be invited to the Olympics. Most athletes consider just attending to be one of the greatest honors available. Michael Jordan never did anything to place second though, as is made obvious by the gold lining of this shoe.

Worth of note: despite being heavily favored, the US Mens basketball team hadn't actually won gold yet when MJ laced up these bad boys. He wore them in every game en route to the eventual gold, just in case his opponents didn't know what he thought of their chances of winning.

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Air Jordan V Grape

Grape

Are there outright cooler Air Jordans than the "Grape"? Absolutely. But what this shoe lacks in modern style it more than makes up for in nostalgia. That color combination just screams '90s!

And tell me it doesn't remind you of a Yikes! pencil. C'mon, I know you had 'em too.

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Air Jordan 2011 Black/Neon Lime Green

Green

Most of the shoes on this list are red and black, perhaps with some white tossed in because, well, that's the classic color combination for the Air Jordan line. These black and green kicks have a place among the best though.

Who doesn't love neon lime green?

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Air Jordan Retro V Laney

High School

It took Jordan a long while to pay a tribute to his high school—the one that infamously cut him and possibly gave him the fuel and drive to become the best basketball player ever. But when he finally did, the tribute came in shoe form.

How appropriate.

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Air Jordan 1 Black Toe

Black Toe

The "black toe" shoe from the first generation of Air Jordans was one of the most successful of the original colorways. Due to the colors matching those of the Chicago Bulls, they were some of the most sought after sneakers at the time. Some things never change.

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Air Jordan 1 White/Black/Red

AJ1

Despite all of the old-school shoes in this slide show, I'm not a hipster. I swear. Some of these old sneakers are just too slick not to love. Here's another gem from the first generation of Air Jordans.

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Air Jordan XI Columbia

Columbia

Cool white shoes with a kiss of baby blue in the form of the famous airman symbol. Sleek and sophisticated while still making the simple "I'm awesome" statement that Air Jordans are known for.

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Air Jordan 1 Black Royal

Black and Blue

What the shoes on the previous slide lacked in in-your-face attitude, the Black Royals more than make up for it. Straight up black and blue shoes with no chaser. All attitude, all the time here.

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Air Jordan VII Black True Red

AJ 7

So maybe black and blue isn't your thing. Maybe you're more into, say, black and red? Jordan has that base covered as well with these 7th generation beauties.

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Air Jordan IV Military Blue

Attention

These military blue sneakers would fit in on any showroom floor these days, but they were released when non-Bulls colored shoes were still a bit of a rarity for the Jordan line. The shoe was released late in 1989, but I wouldn't bat an eye if I saw these on Amazon as a modern shoe now.

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Air Jordan IV White Cement

Spike

It didn't take long for Spike Lee and MJ to develop a friendship, and after playing Mars Blackmon, Lee helped turn Air Jordans into a recognized symbol no matter where you went. This design was one of the most popular from the first few installments of Jordans line.

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Air Jordan Retro III Mocha

Mocha

You'll have to forgive me, but I am a bit of a sucker for low-tops. Perhaps this is what the Air Jordan line would have looked like had it been ADIDAS producing the shoes?

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Air Jordan XI Low Snake

Snake

I might as well get my penitent for low-tops out of the way in back-to-back slides. I know low-tops aren't the greatest for balling on the court, but they are good for ballin' off of it.

Exhibit B.

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Air Jordan III Fire Red

Fire Red

This shoe is all about the red accents to me. What could have been a mildly bland shoe turns poppin' with the fire on the eyelets and heel.

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Air Jordan Retro XI Space Jam

Bugs

Tilting my hand on the nostalgia again with this pick, but who didn't love Space Jam as a kid? Or maybe even-possibly-sometimes as a respectable adult? If it were on Netflix I wouldn't watch it at all! Swear

Neat fact of the night? Bug Bunny does not make a single basket in the movie. Nota' one. Maybe he should have slid into a pair of these Nikes?

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Air Jordan 1 White/Grey

Jay

I don't think Jay-Z had recorded his first tape when these sneakers came out, but for some reason these cool grey on white shoes remind me of something that Hova would sport. It could just be me, and this could be why I am not a celebrity designer. Or whatever those folks are called.

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Air Jordan Retro 1 Boston Celtics

Rival

Odd to think how this slick shoe was born of one of the most fierce sports rivalries of all time. Chicago fans aren't fond of Chicago fans and vice versa, but perhaps they could agree on this awesome retro shoe?

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Air Jordan Retro II Melo

Melo

In my opinion one of the best looking non-red/black Air Jordans, the Retro II Melo is about as sleek as they come. The white is sparkling, and the baby blue and yellow pops off of the shoe in a wonderful color combination.

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Air Jordan XI Black/Red

BR

Shoes don't get much more iconic than this. The most popular shoe, sported and endorsed by the most popular player on the most popular team (arguably) on the face of the planet. The Air Jordan brand was just killin' it by this point.

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Air Jordan Retro 1 White/Grand Purple

Purple

You know what they say. If it 'aint purple then it 'aint poppin'. While all the shoes on this list couldn't be purple, I had to include this shoe that reeks of royalty and class. Yes, things can reek of royalty and class.

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Air Jordan II White/Red/Black

Swooshless

Why does this shoe get the nod over so many others? Because this was the first time the Air Jordan line would remove the Swoosh Nike emblem from the shoe, allowing the Jordan brand to speak for itself. It was a risky move, but one that paid of handsomely.

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Air Jordan XI Concord

Concord

In case you couldn't tell how outstanding the Jordan XI's were from the black/red getup, here's the same design in a much more "design friendly" color scheme. Call me crazy, but I might be more partial to the Concords.

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Air Jordan VI Carmine

Vanilla

After six years of rolling with white on sneakers, the Air Jordan line finally broke away a bit with... uh, off-white/vanilla ice cream tone white? It might not appear to be much of a departure, but the off-white here really works some contrasting magic with the red and black on this shoe.

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Air Jordan 1 Black/Red

Fate

If you go back and look at how many first generation Air Jordans made this best-of list, you'll realize that this was a brand that was fated to work right from the get-go. The shoes were too slick, and the contrasts too wicked not to catch the eye.

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Air Jordan V Fire Red

23

What's more groundbreaking than removing the Nike Swoosh from an Air Jordan shoe entirely? Why, replacing the swoosh with MJ's #23 of course!