You know the Jordan 12, and you know the game it’s remembered for. June 11th 1997, the Chicago Bulls were in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, battling Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz. Jordan had woken up in a cold sweat the night before, their off night after game 4, and he called the Bulls’ doctor up to his room. Diagnosed as either food poisoning or an intestinal virus, MJ stayed in bed for 24 hours, missing all practices leading up to Game 5. Just hours before tip off, Michael rose, dehydrated and having lost several pounds. Intense will,Scottie Pippen, the Jordan 12, and a lot of Gatorade carried him through what will forever be known simply as “The Flu Game.”
Tinker Hatfield had something of a throwback moment with the Jordan 12. Just as he had done with the Jordan 2, Hatfield drew inspiration from a ladies 19th century boot. Pairing that influence with the iconic visual of the Nisshoki, better known as the Rising Sun variant flag of Japan, Hatfield had created one of the most striking Jordans to date. While heavier than many of the previous models, the Jordan 12 was also the most durable. The design stitching of the Rising Sun effect on a sturdy lizard skin-like leather produced better ankle support and less movement of the foot when pivoting. Although the OG pairs were released in full grain leather, current retros drop with split grain. If you’re looking for the same kind fit you had back in the ’90s with your first pair, you’re not going to find it with the newer joints. Jordan 12 retros prior to 2012 are still true to size, but later releases have been saddled with complaints of going up a half size after being broken in.
Originally released in five colorways, white/ black/ taxi, white/ varsity red/ black, obsidian/ white/ french blue, black/ varsity red, and black/ varsity red/ white-metallic silver, they were all lunked out with gold lacing hooks, and a heel to toe zoom air unit. The partial mesh tongue (unseen unless you move it side to side), which sports “T W O 3″ down the center for MJ’s 23 reference, is the only ventilation this tank of a shoe gets. It was the sole of the shoe and it’s modified herringbone checker cab print that gave the Jordan 12 it’s “taxi” nickname. While it’s one of the harder soles to clean, it’s also one of the most durable. With one of the strongest arch supports, an internal heel counter and a carbon fiber shank plate at the base, the Jordan 12 is still one of the go to shoes for many ballers today.
If this years Gamma Blue Jordan 12 or Taxi retros aren’t enough heat for you, maybe you’d like to own the Flu Game pair of the Jordan 12 kicks that Michael wore to score 38 points while battling a 103 degree fever? Signed by Michael himself after the heroic performance and given to the ball boy, they’re up for grabs November 18th over at New York’s Grey Flannel Auction House. Don’t kid yourself, you know you’d try those joints on before you lock box them forever!