Basketball and New York City’s boroughs have historically gone together like pen and paper. A stomping ground for those attempting to make it to peak athleticism, the playgrounds of Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn all serve as bonafide training grounds for those serious about hooping. Jordan Brand has assembled an elite team of determined high school athletes and in honor of their forthcoming Basketball clash set to go down at Barclay’s Center this week, Nike EYBL is set to host the Jordan Brand Classic. Merely across the street, the iconic Jumpman logo, illuminated and alluring, advertises the recently opened yet still members only AJ pop up shop located at 166 Flatbush Avenue. Last night the institute opened its doors to a myriad of Nike+ members and industry insiders alike, eager to check out the current status of Michael Jordan’s legacy brand.
Invited guests milled about engaging in games and activities while the coveted Dover Street Market and David Letterman Air Jordan 1 retros sat on the shelf, inviting peering Jordan heads, finding themselves last night at the epicenter of Jumpman to potentially cop a “grail”. Many enthused guests left the building with enlarged bags of customized, rare or exclusive kicks, relishing in the gaining of uncommon items that any collector would be hard pressed to find for non exorbitant resale pricing or plainly at all. Namely, the elusive and supremely limited “DSM” Air Jordan 1 and the yet to be available Air Jordan 1 Retro “Letterman” and fitting “New York City” Air Jordan Retro 10 were all on hand and ready for retail sale, despite this not being the case for the entirety of the nation and world right now.
Overall a hub for participation in basketball culture and a homage to the New York hoop society, the back of the store buzzed with the noise of guests toiling away at customized and tailored J’s that would showcase unique hues, attendees periodically explained to the store audience via mic during wanes in the music. The 166 Flatbush Avenue Air Jordan pop up was a storefront that combined elements of other storefronts. A juice bar served non alcoholic refreshments directly in the vicinity of a functioning barber chair and barber, in the same space as a pulsing Brittany Skye provided the proper vibes, DJing the event with throwbacks like Nas’ Hov diss “Ether” ringing off across the street from Jay-Z’s prized Barclays Center and trending Soundcloud hits like Travis Scott’s “A-Team” providing the crowd with a mix of new to contrast with the old. Jordan Brand followed suit displaying the newest footwear it has to offer and some of its historical classics simultaneously.
Front and center during the evening was a lineup of kicks in which two were primarily highlighted and seen in a larger capacity: the Jordan Ultra.Fly and the recently released Air Jordan XXX (30). Both new sneaker silhouettes at the forefront of the basketball brands technological innovation, properly represented JB in its modernity. The kicks could be observed in glass cases standing alongside event attendees able to either exercise their basketball dribbling skills or work on virtual dribbling via thumbsticks and controller on a massive flat screen providing NBA 2k16 match ups. Freshly dropped and the latest in the storied line of signature J’s, the Air Jordan 30 shared a retail space with a scuffed pair of 1985 Air Jordan 1’s. A vintage jacket sat in a glass case surrounded by apparel and positioned next to the original pair of AJ1’s that started an empire and also situated with a pair of previously rumored and leaked Air Jordan 1 “Letterman” kicks based on the hues and ensemble that the lauded Michael Jordan donned during a trip to David’s iconic late night talk show. Some of Mike’s most popular past retros and anticipated future drops were present for sale, neatly stacked and stocked until they weren’t and the sample shoe was designated a “sold out” tag.