Tinker Hatfield recently held a summit with a host of Air Jordan collectors where he told a host of stories about the making of the shoe. Speaking to the dearly-missed Gary Warnett, Gerard Starkey, Mithu Singh, Michael Fan and Montana Gonzales, he spoke about how Jordan didn’t like the Air Jordan 2, why there wasn’t a swoosh on the side and why there was never a high-top version.
On first meeting Jordan:
“I knew Michael Jordan wasn’t very happy with the Air Jordan 2. Afterall, he broke his foot in it. But that first meeting with him was really insightful. I realized a lot about Michael – and that he had a really good sense of style.”
Why there wasn’t a swoosh on the side:
“Even though I didn’t know him that well, I thought it would be really great to talk to MJ about having his own brand. But I was conflicted. I thought the swoosh looked good on the shoe. It was designed to have a swoosh – that’s why it works; there’s a good place for it.
On the other hand, I had this Jumpman logo and knew it would be right for the shoe. I spruced it up myself. Then we started printing it out and trying it in embroidery. All of this happened in just a few weeks.”
How Jordan reacted to first seeing the shoe:
“Yes. We had some models made up and I put it on some apparel to go along with it. Michael was not in a great mood when we arrived. He said ‘Show me what you got.’ I had the shoe there under a black cloth, like a shroud. You couldn’t really see very well what the design was like but he had already seen some of the stuff in the two previous meetings.
When I picked the AJ3 up Michael grabbed it from me and started looking at it. Within a few minutes he was smiling and asking all kinds of questions. Within 20 minutes, the meeting was pretty much over.
At the very last moment, I chose to leave the swoosh off and go with the Jumpman. It was an argument with some people in marketing at the time so I threw them a bone and put Nike on the back.’”
On why there was never a high-top Air Jordan 3:
“There was never any conversation around a high-top. MJ didn’t want the weight. He wanted just enough support, more than a low-top.
I had just worked on this mid-cut Air Trainer and thought there was something worth exploring further for the MJ3. So we landed on a 5/8 collar height. When I first presented it to MJ, he said ‘That’s so radical but perfect. Everybody is going this way and that way, but we’re going to do this.’”