Nearly 20 years after their historic relationship began, Mars Blackmon and Money have once again opened the eyes of sneaker culture. With the release of the Jordan Spiz’ike, Spike Lee and the Jordan brand have not only paid homage to their past, but also, paved a way to the future. More than just a sneaker, and more than just another Jordan weekend release, this past Saturday’s Jordan Spiz’ike release penned another chapter into the rich history book of our sneaker culture.
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If Nike had never brought Michael Jordan and Spike Lee (and of course Tinker Hatfield), together in the late ’80s, sneaker culture as we know it today may have never existed. There is no denying the fact that the Air Jordan line of sneakers and Mars’ eternal and almost rhetorical question, “Is it the Shoes?”, opened the eyes of many to the possibility that sneakers could actually embody a spirit and a meaning beyond its raw materials. Could the shoes really make you jump higher? Could they really make you run faster? Could they really make you be more like Mike? Is it the shoes? To those who believe and to all of those who collect with meaning, the answer to all of these questions is Yes. To most Jordan collectors, and all of us here at KATC, the Jordan sneaker is much less about the looks and performance, but more about the mental state that the sneaker produces both on the court and in the street.
It came as no surprise to us that Jordan Brand would then pay tribute to the contribution that Spike Lee and his Mars Blackmon character made to the Air Jordan legacy, and in a bigger picture our culture as a whole, through a Jordan sneaker of his own. Although many furiously debated the looks and the colorway of the Spiz’ike, there is no debating the meaning behind the sneaker. As the Jordan signature sneaker embodied the man that played in them, the Jordan Spiz’ike embodies several key pieces of our sneaker culture, a mixture of memories to those who remember the beginning and still continue to believe today.
Although many initially voiced their displeasure with the design of the Spiz’ike, there was no shortage of sneaker collectors running around the city feverishly looking to purchase a pair this Saturday. In a show of support for those who support him, Spike Lee himself ran along side these collectors. Starting at 34th street, then NikeTown in Midtown, down to ALIFE in the Lower East Side, and finally at Premium Goods in Brooklyn, Spike Lee autographed as many Spiz’ikes, Jordan’s, T-Shirts, hats, etc. as he could. KATC met up with Spike Lee at Premium Goods, which had been wrapped in a Spiz’ike theme, to catch a first hand view of Mars Blackmon in action.