After 12 years of designing Air Jordan sneakers, Tinker Hatfield was burnt out and took a break from the line. In stepped Wilson Smith III, who had previously designed the popular Air More Uptempo that was synonymous with Scottie Pippen in the mid ’90s. Smith took Michael’s love for golf to design the sole, which resembles the style of a golf shoe. Additionally, the patent leather toe is an homage to the Air Jordan 11. The gaiter that shrouds the upper is the clear eye-catcher on the shoe, which was meant to be worn off-court for style purples. Once on-court, you can remove the gaiter via magnets to reveal a more breathable mesh material.
Michael was still retired when the Air Jordan 16 took NBA courts during the 2000-01 season, as worn by Jordan Brand athletes Ray Allen, Michael Finley, Mike Bibby, and Reggie Miller. The following year, MJ replaced his front office Wizards suit with a Washington uni. During the 2001 preseason, Mike laced up the “Ginger” colorway of the AJ16 for a few games before moving onto the next signature in the line.