We never thought we’d say this, but Jordan Brand convinced us yesterday to buy some eight inch tall basketball shoes. Our man Sean Sweeney was in New York City for the official unveiling of the Air Jordan XX8, and initially when they first brought out the sneaker (completely zipped up), he had the same reaction as everyone else in the building/on Twitter/in the blogsphere: “What the…?” The XX8 is definitely different, and it’s different in the Jordan way: high-end materials that scream “this is more than just a basketball shoe.” This one, even though it has some incredible tech in there like a Dynamic Fit technology that uses internal fingers to support the midsole, and a game-changing Jordan Flight Plate that maximizes how the Nike Zoom units work, definitely is exactly that. Why? Well, what do you first notice about the shoe? It’s the black blank canvas (which is going to play a big part in crazy future colorways). The lightest Jordan shoe to date – and also the most tested – can be worn in three different ways: zipped all the way up, unzipped, or even with the flaps completely down. You’ll be able to hoop with any style because all of the tech comes from the goodies inside. Overall, the event was dope: Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook were in the house (Westbrook will be debuting these joints on Tuesday night). So was Tinker Hatfield, one of the GOAT sneaker designers. The whole place felt like the Matrix: everything was green and black, and there was even a misty atmosphere on the second floor of the event. There were blackout and whiteout displays of every Jordan ever in all black and all white. We got opening talks from ‘Melo and Spike Lee on the significance of New York City basketball. We got up with Westbrook to talk about style. It was dope. But by far the coolest part of the event was when Tinker read a text he got from Michael Jordan during the design process. The sneaker designer asked MJ what “stealth” meant to him (the theme of stealth plays a huge role in this shoe). Jordan responded with: “Stealth is like black cat. It’s an automatic aircraft. You can’t f— with an automatic aircraft. It’s like my game. By the time you see it, it’s too f—— late.” Is that not the most MJ quote you’ve ever heard? Expect an official reaction piece, with more details on the shoe and thoughts from Tinker, Westbrook and Jordan Brand Developer Josh Heard, from us later today. As for the shoe, it will be available in Houston only on February 15, 2013, and then it’ll take over stores nationwide on Saturday, February 16. Retail price will be $250 … We’re out like Barkley vs. Pacquiao.
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