Everything You Need To Know About the Air Jordan XII

The Air Jordan 12 was first released from 1996 to 1997. At that time, Michael Jordan rose to greater heights than ever before as a celebrity and basketball icon.

Space Jam hit theaters in November of 1996, bringing Jordan in front of a wider audience than was imaginable for a sports star before that time. The Bulls were coming off a historic 1995-96 season, becoming the first NBA team ever to win 70 or more games. They went on to win what would be the first of three straight NBA Finals.

Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause was named Executive of the Year, Coach Phil Jackson was Coach of the Year, and Toni Kukoc was Sixth Man of the Year. Dennis Rodman led the NBA in rebounds. Steve Kerr was second in three-point shooting percentage. Pippen and Jordan made All-NBA First Team, and those two along with Rodman made the All-Defensive First Team.

But Jordan’s individual accomplishments that season may have eclipsed everything else. He brought in his eighth scoring title. He was MVP of the regular season, the All-Star Game, and the NBA Finals. He was unquestionably the leader of this team, and the best player in the NBA.

If you could point to any season and say, “That’s why Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time,” then this is it. This year, the Chicago Bulls were arguably the greatest team in NBA history, though it’s difficult, even for hardcore NBA fans, to make the case for anyone else.

So when designer Tinker Hatfield was called on to make the Jordan 12, he knew it had to special. He took inspiration from the Japanese Rising Sun flag, with its bold, red rising sun surrounded by solid white and red. That image went into Hatfield’s mind, meshed somehow with more inspiration taken from 19th century women’s dress boots, and came out as the Air Jordan 12.

The design also took into account some Nike technology that hadn’t been used on Jordan Shoes before, like a Zoom Air unit. It also had carbon fiber shank plate. The 12 was also the first to be released exclusively under the Jordan brand. There wasn’t a Nike swoosh on these anywhere, not even the insoles.

The shoes had a sturdy, boot-like look and feel. They are probably the most durable sneakers in the Air Jordan line to date.

The Air Jordan 12 was released with the retail price of $135.00 with five different colorways.

As if these shoes weren’t already iconic enough, Jordan wore the 12s for one of the most memorable moments in his basketball career.

These are the “flu game” shoes. The Air Jordan 12s were on Jordan’s feet when the Bulls dropped the Jazz on his three-pointer in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 1997 NBA Finals.

Jordan put up 38 points in that game. He was so weak after that Scottie Pippen had to help him off the floor. The Bulls went on to win their second straight title, Jordan’s fifth, and it became the stuff of NBA legend.

Now, let’s check out the original release colorways.

White / Black – Taxi

(Photo via Sneakerfiles)

Here’s what they look like in action during the Air Jordan 12 commercial called “Frozen in the Moment.”

White – Varsity Red – Black

(Photo via Sneakerfiles)

Obsidian – White – French Blue

(Photo via Sneakerfiles)

Black – Varsity Red

(Photo via Sneakerfiles)

(Photo via Nike)

Black / Varsity Red – White – Metallic Silver

(Photo via Sneakerfiles)

Jordan wore these in the Air Jordan 12 commercial called “Tell Me,” which was directed by Mark Romanek.

now let’s get to our top 5 Jordan 12 colorways:

Air Jordan 12 Flu Game

(Photo via Nike)

Originally released in 1997, Nike brought back these classics almost two decades later. This is the Black -Varsity Red colorway Jordan wore during the infamous flu game. We’re not sure whether it’s the history or the smooth look that makes these sneakers so great, but it’s probably a little of both.

Air Jordan 12 Playoffs

(Photo via Sole Collector)

Same deal with these shoes. The look is so fresh, but there’s also so much history attached. Jordan wore these when he had the first triple double in NBA All-Star Game history as well as during his game-winner in Game 1 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Here, he hits a midrange jumper Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz, and finishes with the classic casual fist pump.

PSNY x Jordan 12

(Photo via Solefly)

Public School New York (PSNY) collaborated Jordan on the PSNY x Air Jordan 12 in December 2015. These were made of premium suede and completely colored in a dark grey.

Air Jordan 12 Taxis

(Photo via HotNewHipHop)

You know what it is. The Taxis made their original debut in 1996. They were retroed in 2008 and 2013, and remain one of the most cherished of the Air Jordan 12 colorways.

Air Jordan 12 Obsidian

(Photo via Nike)

The Air Jordan 12 Obsidian made its debut in 2012. It’s primary colors are white and Obsidian Blue, but there are notes of French Blue and University Blue on the lining, tongue, and heel tab.

Celebrities wearing the Air Jordan 12s:

Teyana Taylor wearing the Air Jordan XII 12 Flu Game

Yo Gotti wearing the Air Jordan XII Taxi

Rihanna wearing the Air Jordan XII Playoffs

Drake and Producer Noah “40” Shebib wearing the White OVO Air Jordan XII

DJ Envy wearing the Air Jordan XII Grey/University Blue

Michael Jordan wearing the Air Jordan XII in the Flu Game


Previous Story
KicksUSA March Madness: Air Max Edition
Next Story
Everything You Need To Know About The Air Jordan I