by Chris O’Leary / @olearychris

There’s a great write up at CounterKicks this week by Brett Golliff on the Air Jordan XI.

Golliff, a senior creative designer at General Motors with a heavy sneaker background, went in depth on how performance came first with the XI and how that helped shape what I think is the most visually unique, if not most popular shoe in the Air Jordan line.

The XI was my gateway into sneaker culture and the first shoe I flat out obsessed over. The concord XI is my No. 1 holy grail and scooping it up in December this year will mark the end of a 14-year quest. I know the shoe came out 15 years ago (almost 16 now), but it took me a full year to warm up to it. I spent my senior year of high school dissing the XI, thinking that the patent leather working off of the white upper of the shoe made it look ridiculous.

In the same way that I didn’t have the patience back then to enjoy the jazz albums I listen to today, I just wasn’t ready for the XI when it came into the world. It was a sneaker that was revolutionary and it lined up perfectly with MJ’s greatest individual season on the court. All these years later, we’re still wrapping our heads around the greatness we saw in 1995-96. That may be part of the reason why so many players jump at the chance to rock the XI in the NBA today.

Enjoy the gallery. The Bulls-era MJ pics are via CounterKicks, who did a thorough retrospective on the XI in November.