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What’s the Deal With These New Air Jordans?

Nike's Air Jordan Retro XI Concord went on sale today across the country.
Photo by Nike
Nike's Air Jordan Retro XI Concord went on sale today across the country.

Updated at 1:18 p.m. The arrival of Nike’s newest shoe, the Air Jordan Retro XI Concord, brought crowds of people and police to Barton Creek Mall and Highland Mall last night. One police officer was injured, KXAN reports.Some people suffered minor injuries, according to theAustin American-Statesman. Several shoppers said they were pepper sprayed by police.

“Nobody was doing anything bad. We were just getting close to [the store] and they started spraying mace, and [I] got mace all over my eyes," Jalen Hall told KVUE. "I was pretty angry."

People lined up at stores across the country, and ABC News reports that police were called to stores in Indiana, Florida, Texas and Virginia. The Detroit Free Press saysone man was arrested at a mall, accused of inciting a riot. One person was arrested after reportedly firing a gun into the air where 3,000 people were lined up at a store in California's Bay Area. 

So what’s the deal with these shoes, apart from the fact that they bear the name of basketball hall of famer Michael Jordan?

This particular edition of the Air Jordan, the XI, is virtually identical to those released in 1996. That was the year that Jordan’s Chicago Bulls won their fourth NBA championship in six years. Jordan also wore the shoes in the Warner Brothers movie “Space Jam, a live action/animated movie that featured “Looney Tunes” characters like Bugs Bunny. has a history of celebrities who wore the Air Jordan XI. They include everyone from modern rapper Lil Wayne to 90s New Jack Swing sensations Boyz II Men.

Because of the limited edition nature of the shoe, those who can’t secure a pair from Footlocker or a Nike Store will be left to scour auctions sites like eBay, which have them listed at up to $660 a pair.

No wonder that with the history behind the shoe and its appeal among celebrities that it is an obsession of sneaker collectors. Here’s one early review of the shoe posted before it went on sale today. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.