Michael Jordan's infamous "Last Shot" in game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals agains the Utah Jazz is the stuff of basketball legend. MJ dropped an 18-footer with 5.2 seconds to bury the Jazz and secure his 6th and final NBA Championship 19 years ago today.
You've seen the rumored push-off on Bryon Russell that MJ used to clear enough space. You've seen the legions of Jazz fans behind the basket's horrified faces, as they knew they were about to get screwed again. You've seen the one little boy in a black Bulls jersey to the left of the hoop confidently signaling that the shot is good. And you've seen the black/red Jordan XIV's on MJ's feet, which have earned the "Last Shot" moniker.
There's a pretty good chance that if you've got even a moderate interest in basketball, the legendary moment is one you're familiar with. But what do you know about the shoes that MJ was wearing when he hit the shot? The Jordan XIV is a model that seems to get lost in the sauce when sneakerheads discuss their favorite Jordans, so today, on the anniversary of the iconic shot, we'll give you the backstory on the sneakers that helped make the moment possible.
"Black Toe" XIV's, the first XIV to release
Originally introduced on October 31st, 1998 in the "Black Toe" colorway, the Jordan XIV was conceptualized by legendary sneaker designer and longtime MJ confidant Tinker Hatfield. It's common knowledge that MJ had a fondness for luxury automobiles, but it's not as widely known that the XIV was modeled after one of MJ's favorite cars, the Ferrari 550M that he was fond of whipping around in.
The infamous "Last Shot" XIV's that MJ was wearing when he drained the series-clinching jumper.
The shape of the Jumpman badge mimics the shape of Ferrari's iconic crest, the midsole design was inspired by the 550M's grille and body kit, and the rubber detailing on the heel drew its inspiration from the high-performance tires found on Ferraris. If you look closely, you'll notice that the Jumpman logo appears 7 times on both the left and the right sneaker, for a total of 14 ... just like the number of the shoes themselves.
The much-loved "Forest" colorway, released in 2005
The Jordan XIV was ahead of its time in terms of performance as well as design too. Chunky, bulky high-tops were still very much de rigueur in the NBA at the time, and the sleek, lower-cut style Tinker came up with was unlike any other on the market at the time. We're not trying to start up the MJ/Kobe comparisons, but the XIV was similar to the Kobe 4 (Kobe's first low-top sneaker) in that it went against the grain and pushed basketball footwear in a fresh new direction.
The "Ferrari" colorway with red suede and carbon fiber detailing, released in 2014.
And although it doesn't garner the mainstream recognition like a I or IV does in today's Jordan market, the XIV still has a loyal following, and a permanent place in sneaker history, due to its innovative design and the history Michael made in them. If you've got a pair in your rotation, you better be wearing them today, strictly for cultural purposes.
What's your favorite Jordan XIV of all time? Is the "Last Shot" your favorite Michael Jordan moment, or does something else take the cake for you?