The year is 1996. After going back to the drawing board on inspiration for the newest Air Jordan, Tinker Hatfield decided to watch Michael Jordan play for inspiration. What Hatfield saw was a deliberate player looking for the perfect moment to strike. Mike displayed the behavior of a carnivorous predator, like a black cat. Tinker sketched quickly before flying to California to meet up with Jordan. The “black cat” term caught Michael’s eyes, as that was what his closest friends called him. The theme was set and a year later, the final version of the Air Jordan 13 was unveiled.
The eye-catcher on the shoe is the Hologram on the heel that literally mimics a black panther’s eye, with the theme extending to the paw-shaped outsole. The shoe also boasts a carbon fiber support plate once again for lightweight support. That is combined with the heel and forefoot Zoom Air units for a quick and responsive first step.
After losing the award to Karl Malone in the previous season, Michael secured his 5th (and final) regular season MVP award for the 1997-98 season – all while rocking the Air Jordan 13. Mike rocked the shoe throughout the playoffs until the biggest moment arrived, which saw Jordan switch to the AJ14 for the iconic “Last Shot.”
Off the court, the AJ13 was popular amongst celebrities like Jame Foxx, Nelly, and even Rihanna. The shoe notably makes an iconic appearance in the Spike Lee film He Got Game, as worn by Denzel Washington’s Jake Shuttlesworth.