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by Tzvi Twersky | photos by Tom Medvedich

Seventeen months after the launch of the Air Jordan XX8, Jordan Brand finally introduced the AJ XX9. And they did it with a bang.

On a blustery afternoon in Manhattan, NY, in a private space that JB outfitted for the occasion with a little light and a lot of AJ paraphernalia, Brand Present Larry Miller and Vice President of Creative Concepts Tinker Hatfield talked up the latest iteration of the best-selling sneaker line. When they were finished, they brought out a surprise guest to unveil the AJ XX9. 

The guest? None other than Michael Jordan.

Though he’s always heavily involved with the design of the AJ, MJ hadn’t attended a sneaker launch since the AJ XXIII dropped six years ago. So when the six-time NBA Champion appeared onstage, the assembled media went wild. And Jordan smiled and bit his lip.

Hatfield and Jordan, who were joined by ESPN’s Michael Smith, proceeded to discuss the AJ XX9 for less than 15 minutes. In that time, the two old friends broke down many design and technological aspects of the AJ XX9, showing off a brotherly familiarity that made the event feel even more intimate than it actually was.

Before the presentation ended, Jordan posed alongside Hatfield and the XX9. After assuming a photogenic position for a couple quick camera clicks, Jordan smiled and exited the room just as quickly as he appeared in it.

“If you haven’t gotten it by now,” he said, jokingly, “you’re not going to get it.”

Click through the 10 arrows below to see exactly what we “got” from Miller, Hatfield, Jordan and Co. about the AJ XX9, which is slated to drop this coming September for an undisclosed price.