A Look Back Review: Nike Air Jordan IV

Nike Air Jordan IV

“A shot on Ehlo…Gooooooooood!!!!”

Those words will forever echo painfully like the shrill bone-chilling screech of nails dragging across a chalkboard in the hearts of all Cleveland sports fans.  In Game 5 of the first round of the 1989 NBA Playoffs, Michael Jordan wrote the very first chapter of his obviously magestic postseason legacy by draining a pull-up jumper at the buzzer over Craig Ehlo with everything on the line, wearing his Air Jordan IV kicks.

No offense to Cavs fans, but it’s hauntingly ironic that two of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen that have ripped the hearts out of Cleveland’s faithful, both donned the #23 jersey.  MJ nearly immortalized himself through the number while LeBron…well, let’s leave that one alone.

Go-to Air Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield contrived the Nike Air Jordan IV without straying too far from what was working so well.  Being that Michael’s signature line began showing great promise with multiple sell-outs and growing global interest, Hatfield maintained a silhouette that was strikingly similar to its immedite predecessor, the Air Jordan III.

"Gooooood!!! Bulls win!!!"

With a thick full-length midsole, an Air Sole unit installed in the heel and secure ankle support, performance was never intended to be sacrificed in the development of MJ’s fourth sneaker.  What was cut however, was weight, which came via the plastic mesh netting on the upper, the IV’s signature.  Composed of an either leather or nubuck upper, the Air Jordan IV only worked to increase the borgeoning popularity of MJ’s shoe line, worldwide.  The man in the shoes himself certainly served as the primary pulse in the growth of his own brand by winning the scoring title (32.5 ppg) and various individual accolades (All-Star, First Team All-NBA, First Team All-Defense) all in these kicks during the 1988-1989 season.

Spike Lee even took the IV’s to greater heights by giving the sneakers a premium cameo in his film, Do the Right Thing.  During its premiere scene, one of the characters, “Buggin Out”, begins fervently cleaning his pair of these kicks with a toothbrush after a bicycle rider scathes them while passing by.

The Nike Air Jordan IV marked the beginning of what was to be a decade of relatively unchallenged dominance for the Jordan brand as a whole.  Michael Jordan, the basketball player, clearly began thriving in his role as the NBA’s best player as well.  With strong subsequent big Retro releases in 1999 and 2006, the Air Jordan IV has firmly held its ground for the better part of 20 years.

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