After the wildly successful AJ11 shoe, Tinker was tasked with topping that popular sneaker with the Air Jordan 12. Hatfield took inspiration from the Nisshoki 19th century women’s shoe, while also drawing elements from the rays from the Japanese rising sun flag to create the stitched lines on the upper. Technology-wise, the shoe features a full-length Zoom Air bag that is still being used by Nike and the Jordan Brand today. This is the first use of Zoom Air technology, forgoing Air Max for a bouncier, responsive experience. The large carbon fiber shank plate was carried over from the Jordan 11 to provide lightweight support under your foot.
All of this combined with Michael Jordan’s relentless drive to win yet another championship, the 5th in his career. Things never came easy for Michael though, as he weathered a 103-degree temperature to drop 38 in the 1997 NBA Finals to capture a pivotal game 5. This would go on to be known as the “Flu Game,” which stuck as the nickname for the black and red Air Jordan 12 that Mike wore during the legendary moment.
The shoe would later gain popularity in retro form by celebrities like Fabolous and Drake. The latter of the two also notably was attached to multiple “OVO” colorways that Champagne Papi dropped in unison with the Jordan Brand.