Jordan. One mention of the word sends sneakerheads and basketball enthusiasts alike into a frenzy. When it comes to basketball shoe brands, there's none with more history or allure than the Jordan Brand. Chris Paul is not only a member of the Jordan Brand team, but also one of only three players to have his own signature shoe. With his first shoe debuting in March 2008, the New Orleans Hornets All-Star guard is now set to drop his third release for the brand, the CP3.III, on the day after Christmas.

The North Carolina native teamed up with Jordan footwear designer Jason Mayden for a shoe that pays homage to his family members, hometown, and team, while also designed to increase his performance on the court. The upper of the sneaker features a family crest graphic with details representing his mother, father, brother and late grandfather; meanwhile, lace tips are inscribed with the number "336," the area code of Winston-Salem, Chris' hometown. CP3 took time out to talk with Complex about his 5 favorite Jordans of all time, as part of our "My Sneaker Essentials" column. Hit the jump to see his top five and for more info on the CP3.III...

Interview by Ralph Warner

nikeairjordanxiii AIR JORDAN XIII

CHRIS PAUL: That is probably my favorite ever and part of that is the memorable story behind them. They were stolen the first day I wore 'em. I was playing basketball after school intramurals and they got stole out of my locker. That was back in middle school. As far as the shoe themselves goes, the gray and blue XIII, I just loved the color of them and how they went together. I also loved the hologram that was on the side.



CHRIS PAUL: The Jordan XI, I just loved those with the patent leather going around them. No matter what color you did with those, it was just original. I didn't get my first pair of these 'til when I was in the NBA and first became part of the Jordan brand. My brother had them when we were younger, but I didn't. I think that's because he may have had a job at the time.



CHRIS PAUL: These have most recently became my favorite pair because they've done so many different colors you could wear them with anything. You could wear them with jeans or shorts. They have the Jordan I High, the Jordan I Low. You can't go wrong with them.



CHRIS PAUL: The tongue was something that was real new with the VI. Those two little holes on the tongue, that was my favorite feature on the shoe. It just showed the creativity. That and I think MJ actually wore those in the Olympics.



CHRIS PAUL: I remember when I first saw those way before they came out I was a little bit iffy. The design was just so different, "I was like ehh, I don't know." Then they came out and man I love them now though.


Complex: What was your thought process going into designing the CP3.III?

Chris Paul: It's funny when these shoes come out because when you finish your first one you're like, "What in the world can the second one look like?" Then after the second one you're like, "How can you do a third one and not make it look the same?" It never ceases to amaze me how Jay May [Jason Mayden] comes up with some of the ideas and creativeness behind the shoe. It was just a process, we wanted to make sure that not only was the look of it different but increase the performance and comfort level of the shoe. All those different things played a major role in the development of the shoe.

Complex: Is there anything you can tell us about upcoming colorways?

Chris Paul: The Mardi Gras edition, that will be something that comes out right around February. Just in time for Mardi Gras.

Complex: What aspect of the Jordan brand stands out the most to you ?

Chris Paul: So many different things, but most of all the history of it. History is something that will last forever. You can continue to come out with these shoes year in and year out, and the same buzz if not more will continue. The legend of MJ himself along with the creativity and uniqueness of the shoes is what separates Jordan.

AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE, December 26. for $118.