Written by Bruce Goodwin (@bgoodwin9)
It all started when I read a blog post announcing the Air Jordan Countdown Packages. They were a box set of two retros, where both of the model numbers would add up to the number 23.
It was 2008 in Queens, N.Y., and like most people, I had a thing for the Js that seemed so unattainable.
At that time, my parents refused to pay for sneakers that expensive (the CDPs retailed around $300 at the time). I was in high school, and with the next pack to release being the Air Jordan XI and the Air Jordan XII, I knew it was going to be even harder to get them. The sneakers were dropping right before Christmas.
I didn’t want to settle for anything less. At 16 years old, my best friends and I knew that no matter what, we were going to get these kicks. The only dilemma we had was how we were going to get to the mall.
One of my buddies, Jack, swore he was set to get his license in early December. In fact, he already had a car in his parents’ driveway with his name on it.
We knew one thing for sure: our chances of getting our Air Jordans had dwindled.
The day of his road test came and he failed with flying colors. It may have been Jack’s sideswiping of a Mercedes or him telling his instructor to “chill the fuck out” that prevented him from getting his license, but we knew one thing for sure: our chances of getting our Air Jordans had dwindled.
There was just something about the Air Jordan XII. One of my cousins had the black and red “Flu Game” pair when I was a kid and I fell in love. I had already told my parents that the sneakers were all I wanted for Christmas, and they could even count it as a birthday present for all that I cared. They agreed to give me the $330 to pay for the shoes, and were adamant about that being the only thing I was going to get from them that year.
I sure as hell wasn’t going to let my friends ruin this for me. That might have been the only time I wished I’d had smarter friends, or at least ones with a bit more common sense.
Luckily, my dad was willing to drop me off at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center that morning so I could camp out at the Foot Locker. We agreed that we'd head out around 3AM and he would sit in the car and wait for me while I camped out. For a teenager, waking up around that time is like death, but I knew it was my only chance to get these kicks.
I remember the guys in front of me were talking about how they had knives with them just in case anything popped off.
It was the Saturday before Christmas and I was spending it standing in the freezing cold. When I got there, there were two other people in front of me, and we all wanted a size 10.5. Had I arrived a minute later, I would have been out of luck.
As my dad pulled up, other people flew out of an ATM shelter next door where they were keeping warm. It was my first camp out, so I didn't think to bring a chair. I stood in the cold for nearly six hours until the store opened. I couldn't feel my feet after the first two hours and even wondered if I had frostbite.
I remember the guys in front of me were talking about how they had knives with them just in case anything popped off. I kept my mouth shut and acted as if I heard nothing, even though I still think they said it just loud enough for me to hear.
As the sun began to rise, so did the amount of people in line, but I didn’t care. I just wanted the time to go by quicker. The store finally opened and let us in one by one, locking the door behind each person for every transaction.
My time came, and I finally was able to purchase my 10.5. I didn’t even try them on when I bought them. I was just excited that to see the box that I’d been staring at on the blogs for months.
I slid the top off the box and pulled back the embossed paper to reveal the stark white and jet black sneakers. The first thing I noticed was the pebbled leather, and the golden lace loops atop the sneakers. The taxi and black pattern on the carbon fiber plate excited me, too. My favorite part of the shoe was the Jumpman hand and ball peaked up from the bottom of the sole and onto the toe, and still, to this day, I find that so dope.
I couldn’t even feel my toes for the next two days and wondered if it was all worth it. I picked up the shoes, which were still freezing cold. I tried on both sneakers and realized that I had finally gotten two pairs of kicks that I truly liked and couldn’t wait to wear them.
The first sneakers I wore out in public were the XIIs (I put the XIs on ice until the summer). I even made sure I wore light colored denim so that they wouldn’t bleed onto the sneakers. It was that serious.
My best friends were pretty jealous. When I walked into school, people immediately looked at my feet and gave me a nod of approval. Riding through the bus in Bayside, N.Y. I even caught a few guys looking at me like they wanted to try and rob me.
I haven’t camped out to buy anything ever since, but the Taxis will always be one of my favorite pairs of sneakers.