After years of the same successful formula on the latest Air Jordan models, the Air Jordan 7 flipped past conventions to capitalize on Michael’s international fame and separate the Jordan Brand from Nike.
Gone was the external Nike branding (although Nike Air still appeared on the insole) and the shoe no longer utilized visible Air. This was instead replaced by two embedded Air units in the heel and forefoot, which provided added cushioning for forefoot strikes. The upper was also reduced a lot of the bulk from past models with thinner overlays combined with a neoprene bootie taken from the Nike Flight Huarache line. Visually, the shoe takes elements from African art, with the sharp lines directly coming from African tribal patterns that Tinker saw on a poster in Portland.
Michael could do no wrong in the Air Jordan 7, which MJ wore to capture his second championship. During the NBA Finals series with the Portland Trail Blazers, the defenders in game 1 basically dared Jordan to shoot threes due to Mike’s 27% regular season three-point percentage. The rest was history as Mike sank six threes in the first-half, the last of which led to his signature shrug.
After winning back-to-back championships in six games of the NBA Finals, Michael was off to Barcelona in 1992 alongside the first Olympic roster to feature professional players from the U.S. The Dream Team rolled through the competition to a gold medal, with Mike rocking a white, navy, and gold colorway of the Air Jordan 7 throughout the games.
The Air Jordan 7 made noise off the court as well, with the first iconic commercial featuring Bugs Bunny featuring the championship sneaker in cartoon form: