Entering the ’90s, Michael Jordan was rich in individual accolades but an NBA Championship still eluded him. That all changed when he defeated Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals to clinch his first title. By the end of the decade, Michael had six championship rings in total and was the undisputed king of the court.
When you're at the top of the totem pole, you can afford to take risks. MJ's first as a newly coronated champion? The Air Jordan 6 "Carmine" sneaker.
Debuted by Jordan on his first Ring Night, the Air Jordan 6 "Carmine" signaled a true changing of the guard as MJ's famous foes and childhood heroes of the '80s began fading to black. In the boldly blocked "Carmine" 6s, Mike defended his new throne and stepped on all that dared threaten it. From the opening night of the 1991-92 season all the way up to the All-Star Game, the "Carmine" 6s outfitted the young king.
The "Carmine" colorway was distinctively different from the shoes Jordan wore during his first NBA Championship run. Defined by its color contrast on the upper, the "Carmine" release was a departure from other Air Jordan 6s because of its unconventional color placement. A cult classic, the "Carmine" 6s were an acquired taste, blending bold blocking that's youthful with a left of center tone that's mature. The former would differentiate this Air Jordan 6 from its 1991 peers while the latter would pave the way for all Air Jordans that followed.
After Jordan made the NBA his own in the "Carmine" 6s, nothing was the same. Sure, over the early course of the Air Jordan lineage, non-traditional tones like "Military Blue" and "Grape" were released on introductory models, but they weren't worn in NBA action by Jordan. He actually played in the "Carmine" 6s, and did so a lot. This creativity in design opened up the floodgates for off-kilter colorways like "Raptor" 7s, "Aqua" 8s, and "Concord" 11s to be worn by Jordan on court whether it was during the regular season, in the playoffs, or an All-Star activity. When looking at the loud hues and imaginative colorways worn by today's talent in the NBA, Mike's OG "Carmine" 6s pushed the envelope for the current state of hardwood heat.
Dating back to the "Carmine" 6's first retail release in 1991, the niche favorite returned in 2008 as a Countdown Pack retro and once more in 2014 on its lonesome. Now, celebrating 30 years since its debut, the Air Jordan 6 "Carmine" is back for the first time with "Nike Air" heel branding and original packaging. This homage to the original is a testament to Jordan defending his newly found title as a champion and rewriting the rules with his new power. Check out a few closeups of the 2021 release below before picking up a pair over to GOAT.