Dear Jordan 3s, I Owe You an Apology

Illustration for article titled Dear Jordan 3s, I Owe You an Apology
Photo: nanan burgos (Shutterstock)

Once upon a time not long ago, when people didn’t wear masks and hit outdoor shows, I wrote an article about the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of Nike’s Air Jordan 3. I questioned if, as a sneakerhead, this was some sort of sacrilege, especially because when it comes to ranking Jordans, many people—sneakerhead or not—placed the shoe at or near the top.

From my December 2018 article:

And I don’t get it. I don’t like the way they’re designed. They look too simple, which I imagine is part of the draw for many people. I’ve even tried to talk myself into them since I am the only person into sneakers who finds them to be un ... hot. The shoe that follows them in succession, the Jordan IV is, hands down, my favorite silhouette of the entire brand. And I love all of the versions of the shoes I have purchased.

Which makes me wonder, for the Jordan lovers and sneakerheads of the world (a group that probably has tremendous overlap), is it sacrilegious to be anti-3s? As esoteric as the question sounds, the truth is, Jordan brand sneakers are some of the best selling shoes on the planet, with only Adidas recently supplanting them at the top of the sales shoe chain, probably thanks largely to Kanye’s Yeezy collection (Though I see that reign on top coming to an end; the only thing that made Yeezys so cool was the exclusivity. Kanye makes some ugly shoes; I have three pairs). And the 3s are loved universally by sneakerheads and everyday shoe shoppers. They’re beloved. And yet here I am.

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And yet...here I am.

It’s January 2021, and as it turns out, I owe the Air Jordan 3 silhouette an apology. Just like I owed the Adidas Stan Smith an apology. I wonder if I apologize to shoes more than anybody else? But a wrong must be righted for I’d rather be right than wrong. Right? Right.

With that being said, I’ve had a change of heart: I don’t know exactly where I rank the Jordan 3 amongst my favorites, but I definitely don’t dislike them. In fact, I actually really like them now. How did we get here? Nobody’s supposed to be here. And yet, here I am.

So how did we get here? Here’s how. I have lots of sneakers. If you ask my wife, she’d say too many. I have a lot of Jordans. Now, I’m not like some folks who have several hundred pairs of shoes. I’m solidly in 100+ camp. Plus, at some point, I just start selling shoes because I don’t have the space to house them all. I’ve already started putting shoes in my storage unit. It’s not out of hand but it could get there. Either way, I have a lot of Jordans, but I have never purchased a pair of 3s for reasons I laid out above. I never liked them. Not in person, not in pictures. And then a funny thing happened.

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I went to an outdoor market in early November to do outdoor market things—in fact, it was the day of the Jordan 4 “Fire Red” re-release—and I ran into a dude I know. Now, I’m one of those people who will notice your shoes before I notice your face. I noticed his Jordan 3 “Black Cements” and was like, “man, those look dope AF.” His were the 2018 release, evidenced by the “Nike Air” on the heel tab (there was a 2011 release that had a Jordan brand logo on the heel tab). I couldn’t shake how dope I thought they looked, which was somewhat off-putting for me since I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time exclaiming, usually to myself, that I wasn’t a fan of the 3.

I thought about those shoes long after I went indoors from the outdoor market in November. Was I trippin’? I looked at the shoes online and still didn’t love them but apparently, my stance had softened. Then I watched unboxing videos and looked at rankings. I talked to some of my sneaker homies about their feelings about Jordan 3s. I started looking at the Jordan 3 Fire Red Denims that released earlier in 2020 and was like, “I guess they are kind of fly?” But because Jordan 3s are super popular, they are almost all only available via the resale market and I wanted the Black Cement joints. The cost for the particular shoes I want, which retail for $200 (already steep), is around $380-$400 on sites like StockX and GOAT. They’re even higher on eBay so even if I was changing my mind, I wasn’t about to change my Christmas. Right? Right?

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And then I made a call to a homie who then made a call to another homie and then the homie was like, “homie has a deadstock pair that he will part with for $300” and I was like, “daaaaaaaaamn Gina!!!” Mind you, I was still on the fence...that was until….

...I put them on my feet and then it all made sense. I immediately loved how they looked on-feet. I had nowhere to go but wore them in the house anyway. I called Damon, a noted Jordan 3 fan, and sent him a picture and told him that I’d joined the Jordan 3 club. He congratulated me. Since then, which was early December, I’ve probably worn my 3s more than any other shoe. I love them now. A few paragraphs ago I said I really like them, and now I’m saying I love them. It’s both. They’re like family and friends.

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So to the Jordan 3, I apologize. I was wrong. I am no longer anti-3. I’m pro-3. The Jordan 3 is alright with me.

Thanks, Obama.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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