Cars have long served as inspiration for sneaker designers, and Michael Jordan
was always a car nut — convergence. MJ’s Porsche inspired the whale tail on the Air Jordan 6 (Air Jordan VI), so it should have come as no surprise when Tinker Hatfield
’s sleek Air Jordan 14 (Air Jordan XIV) included many a detail taken from Jordan’s Ferrari 550 Maranello. Lower-cut and streamlined, the Air Jordan 14 featured “intakes” in the midsole as well as Ferrari-like badges on the sides. While the shoes weren’t made in Italy like the Air Jordan 2 (Air Jordan II), the exotic influence was plain.
Still, it seemed like some final details were never quite decided on. The initial release of the Air Jordan 14 featured a suede toebox and plain side panels—later colors went with a leather toebox and ribbed and perforated side panels. The ribbed panels seemed more Ferrari-like, but there was never really a consensus: ensuing versions went either way with no set pattern. Even the lowcuts — a seemingly unnecessary option on what was already a relatively low shoe — took both approaches. And the inevitable retros just confused the issue further, as the first colorway was retroed with the ribbed and perfed panels. And lifestyle colorways abounded like never before, with neons and greys taking their place alongside the more traditional Bulls
Like the Air Jordan 11 (XI), the Air Jordan 14 made its NBA
debut early — but this time the results were much better. Jordan wore the black/red colorway in the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, a series that ended with a shot over Bryon Russell that would be every bit as legendary as the one over Craig Ehlo a decade earlier. Unlike the Air Jordan 11 (XI), however, the Air Jordan 14 (XIV) wouldn’t get a Jordan-led encore. Because this time “The Shot” was “The Last Shot”—or so we’d be led to believe.