Air Jordan XVIII: His Airness Calls it Quits AGAIN!

Name: Air Jordan XVIII

Release: 2003

Designer: Tate Kuerbis


Things are looking great all over the board…Jordan is back and performing very well considering how much older he is and the Air Jordan sneakers are still maintaining their luster as well. So, like all the other die hard Air Jordan fans I could not wait to see the new installment in the series. Considering this was to be Jordan’s final season in the NBA it was hopefully going to be a great sneaker.

For the design of this sneaker Wilson Smith III stepped down from the helm and Senior Footwear Designer at Nike, Tate Kuerbis was given the task of designing the Air Jordan XVIII.  Like many of the previous Air Jordans in the sneaker series Kuerbis got his inspiration from high-end cars. For the Air Jordan XVIII, it is stated that he used the smooth lines of the Lamborghini Murcielago. To give the shoe a more stylish look it is said that he used stitching techniques from fine Italian shoes.

Even though this was his final season his numbers reflected that of a player that still had many good years left in them.

The Air Jordan XVII was one of the most uniquely designed sneakers of the whole collection; it featured a one-piece leather piece that had a flap covering the laces of the shoe.  The outsole of the sneaker was hand stitched and for the insole of the shoe there was a carbon fiber comfort plate.  The Air Jordan XVIII incorporated a dual-layer heel and forefoot Zoom Air cushioning. I can attest that this one of the most awkward looking Air Jordan sneakers in the collection, but it was REALLY comfortable and it was an AIR JORDAN…so it could look like anything they wanted it to look like!

The Air Jordan XVIII came in a pull out box with the number “18” cut out of the top of it when it was released that year. One of the main problems that most people had with the packaging was that when the box got dented in any way it became impossible for one to open the box…AND since you never wanted to damage the box to get the shoes out you would more than likely opt to wear a different sneaker that day…or was that just me? This sneaker was released in the colorway of black and blue when it was first released. Since the majority of the sneaker was suede the sneaker came with a brush and a towel for cleaning as well as “Air Jordan XVIII Driver’s Manual” booklet.

Special Moments:

So…again his “Airness” announces that this will be his final season in the NBA and at this point no one could blame him because he did what he set out to do, which was set a positive light on the Washington Wizards. Even though this was his final season his numbers reflected that of a player that still had many good years left in them. During the 2002-03 NBA season Jordan was the only player to play in all of the 82 games on hid team. He made history yet again by being the only player over 40 to EVER score over 40 points in New Orleans on January 22, 2003…Now that is the a real 40/40 Club to be a part of and I think even Jay-Z* would agree with that.

To add to his ever growing resume of records Jordan also became the NBA’s third all-time scorer against the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 9, 2003. He also acquired the all-time point per game leader against the Miami Heat on April 11, 2003 with 30.12 points per game. Now say what you want about how he wasn’t the same Jordan and BLAH BLAH BLAH, but he proved that he was the smartest and greatest player to EVER play basketball with his stellar performance…YES EVER!!!

In his final season, Michael Jordan was selected to his 14th and final NBA All-Star Game. During this season he wore the Air Jordan XVIII during most of his games, but he did rotate through some of his other classics from the Air Jordan collection. Some of the notable NBA players that were seen wearing this sneaker were Richard Hamilton, Scottie Pippen, Ray Allen, Mike Bibby, Michael Finley and Carmelo Anthony.

*Jay-Z owns a very successful night club in New York called the 40/40 Club.

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Sole Theory is a sneaker lifestyle guide that explores the social impact of the sneaker culture. Users can expect to gain insight on recent trends, historic brands and signature styles that have heavily influenced the shoe industry. Content will be driven by articles, interviews and reviews that will uncover interesting facts and stories that have rarely been told.