Michael Jordan laced up the Air Jordan 7 during two of his most memorable wins.
The Air Jordan 7, which debuted in 1992, was on the feet of the Chicago Bulls shooting guard when he led his team to its second-straight NBA championship. While wearing the Air Jordan 7 in the NBA Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, Jordan hit six three-pointers in Game 1, famously shrugging as he even surprised himself with his own talent.
Months later after defeating the Trail Blazers and claiming his second NBA title, MJ led the men’s basketball team to gold at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Dubbed the Dream Team, the Team USA roster was the first American lineup to include active professional players. With Jordan wearing No. 9 and flying high, the Dream Team blasted all opponents to earn the gold medal.
As alluded, Jordan did all this winning in the Air Jordan 7.
Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the Air Jordan 7 was an exploration in innovation and expression. Distinguished by a Huarache sockliner, the Air Jordan 7 sported a floating ankle and snug inner bootie for a lighter feel and more dynamic fit than previous Air Jordans. Also of note, the sneaker did away with visible Air, marking a stark departure for the line, both visibly and technically.
Aesthetically, Hatfield found inspiration from the Afropop art movement when making the Air Jordan 7. Bold pops of color illuminated the geometric shapes on the outsole, appearing as accents on an array of unique new themes. Original colorways such as the “Hare,” “Cardinal,” “Raptor,” “Olympic” and “Bordeaux” blends all played with palettes more obtuse and eclectic than standard Chicago Bulls takes.
First seen in bold “Bordeaux” form at the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, the Air Jordan 7 was worn through the 1992 NBA Finals, in the 1992 Summer Olympics and in the early months of the 1992-93 NBA season. Despite its odd concoction of colorways, the basketball sneaker wears the unique distinction of appearing on MJ’s feet in each retail rendition in NBA or Olympic action.
After its arrival in 1992, the Air Jordan 7 returned to the brand vault as MJ’s signature series continued to progress through new iterations. To celebrate the model’s 10-year anniversary in 2002, the Air Jordan 7 returned as a retro release for the first time in the original “Raptor” take, as well as a new “French Blue” colorway. Carrying on tradition, Jordan actually played in the “French Blue” makeup as a member of the Washington Wizards.
Over the course of its continued run as a retro release, the Air Jordan 7 has managed to return all original colorways over time as well as unveil a slew of new styles. In 2006, the Air Jordan 7 retro entered the realm of LS, or lifestyle, launches by dropping in limited non-original colorways such as the cream-toned “Pacific Blue” rendition, as well as the black-based “Chambray” pair. Over the course of that same year, a new “Maize” makeup proved the first women’s-exclusive colorway of the shoe.
Throughout the 2000s, 2010s and 2020s, the Air Jordan 7 has been everywhere. On the NBA hardwood, the Air Jordan 7 has been made in player exclusive form for Jordan Brand athletes such as Eddie Jones, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant and members of the 2008 USA Men’s Olympic Basketball team. From a fashion and collaboration standpoint, the Air Jordan 7 has been revised and released in conjunction with Dutch brand Patta and French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain F.C. Artwork from Joan Miro has appeared on the Air Jordan 7 as a nod to the Native American athlete community through the spirited N7 Collection. In 2018, the Air Jordan 7 even released at retail for the first time in low-top form.
Like many revered retro models from the famed Air Jordan franchise, the Air Jordan 7 remains rooted in winning while still expanding its range to new generations and new markets. From adults to children, the Air Jordan 7 can be found in original colorways that recall MJ’s golden glory with the Chicago Bulls and the Dream Team, as well as new takes that channel Marvin the Martian or 1990s fashion.
When it comes to standing on the top of the mountain as a competitor, the Air Jordan 7 represents Jordan among the most accomplished to ever play team sports. Ideated by Hatfield and made memorable on court, the Air Jordan 7 is a beautiful balance of expression and performance.