Air Jordan's Marketing Legacy Lives On

Aron GlatzerAnalyst IJanuary 25, 2008

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 12: Former player Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls addresses the crowd as teammate Scottie Pippen listens during a 20th anniversary recognition ceremony of the Bulls 1st NBA Championship in 1991 during half-time of a game bewteen the Bulls and the Utah Jazz at the United Center on March 12, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It is almost an unattainable goal to achieve perfection in the world of professional sports.

Tom Brady's performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars was pretty damn impressive, but his career, as great as it is will be once complete, draws comparisons to one who paved the path before; Joe Montana and his run with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980's.

Kobe Bryant is capable of dropping 80 points on an opponent on any given day, but he can't hold a finger to the man who trademarked jersey number '23', Michael Jordan. We are talking about the man responsible for inspiring an entire generation of teams to give their greatest guards the honor of donning that same number, from junior-high all the way up to the NBA

Although Bryant and Lebron James hold lucrative shoe deals with Nike, the fact is, nearly a decade after his final retirement, everybody still wants to be 'like Mike', and the proof is in the pudding.

The Air Jordan is still the top dog of the sneaker industry, held in higher esteem than the rest, and this year marks the final chapter as the twenty-third numbered shoe in the series hit stores on January 25, 2008.

This blue and titanium version of the XXIII's is a beauty, but don't expect to see any pairs on the court or in your school, as Nike intentionally made it one of the most limited pairs of Jordans ever produced.

Only the top twenty-three highest selling stores with Jordan Brand accounts received a shipment of twenty-three pairs each, selling for retail at $230 (one per customer.) Are you seeing a pattern here? That makes 529 pairs of this sneaker available in the entire United States.

The Niketown in San Francisco made the cut, so I decided to check out the situation in advance and see what type of people would wait in the cold and rain to cop a pair for themselves. 

What I found was staggering:  Chantel Smith and Jeromie Speros stood at the very front of the line, a line which formed after their arrival at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 22nd.

I stopped in again Thursday night and saw a caterpillar-type formation extend down the sidewalk by the front entrance, filled with tarps, tents, and blue, green, and red colored lawn chairs seating a group of die-hard sneaker heads waiting for Friday morning to arrive.

The sun refused to give this group even a brief appearance, so everyone had to acclimate to conditions of grey skies, persistent rain and frigid nights.

"The freezing cold is what I wasn't really prepared for, although I have three pairs of pants and we needed two cars to bring all of our supplies," said Arthur Cervantes.  Cervantes is a sneaker legend known as "Ace" in the culture who owns over 600 pairs of kicks and has been featured in prominent shoe magazines such as Sole Collector.

"I've been a big collector the past six or seven years and with this being the last numbered shoe, these will pretty much be the period to the paragraph for my collection."

These shoes could resell near $1,000 at some point, but it was good to see the majority of the Jordan heads in SF in it for the right reasons.

"Everybody has their price, but to me, these are priceless," Cervantes said. 

Personally, I could never sleep on street pavement for days on end, as my only previous campout experience involved waiting for an Oregon-Oregon State football ticket while in college.

That was a bit different, as a major party emerged on a Sunday night, followed by a morning that included picking up a highly sought after ticket and immediately passing out for the rest of the morning instead of going to class.

(I do not endorse skipping college classes, but I do miss having the option.)

Anyhow, I do understand that these shoes are like seeking a holy grail for some out there, so big ups to your efforts and for literally earning some street cred in the process.