The Washington Times - December 23, 2011, 08:12PM

In one of Michael Jordan’s signature Nike commercials during his playing career, he denied to “Mars Blackmon”, a character created and portrayed by Spike Lee, that his success was all about the shoes.

Jordan has been retired since 2003, after spending the final two years of his career playing two forgettable seasons with the Wizards, and is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. But for the shoe-buying public, it seems that there’s still nothing quite like a pair of Air Jordans.


On Friday, Dec. 23, Nike released the Air Jordan XI Retro Concord sneaker, and a nationwide frenzy was the result. According to multiple sources, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, and SanAntonio were the cities were near riot conditions broke out over the release of these shoes, which are white with black patent leather.

For Wizards guard Nick Young, who favors Jordan’s, there really is something about the shoes. During the lockout, Young went public using his Twitter account that he was planning to boycott Jordan brand sneakers, due to Jordan’s stance as a hardline owner.

Young said he believed at the time that as a former player, Jordan should have understood what the players were fighting for, and perhaps sided with them.

“I was a little hurt by what I heard he said,” Young said on Friday after Wizards practice.

“That was like my favorite player. I thought for sure he would be behind us. It is what it is and it’s over with. I understand, he’s playing on the other side now. It’s a different ball game.”

Young was unaware that the sneakers had hit the market on Friday. Clearly, it sparked his interest.

“Those were some of my favorites,” Young said, referring to the white shoes with the black patent leather logo.

“I might have to give Jordan a call and apologize. I didn’t know those came out. Those were my favorites.”

“Protest is over. I’m sorry Michael,” Young said.

But for Wizards veteran forward Rashard Lewis, it’s really not about the shoes. When told about the frenzy surrounding the release of the new Air Jordans after Wizards practice on Friday, Lewis was slightly less impressed than his teammate.

“I couldn’t afford to have Jordans back then, so it wasn’t no waiting in line,” Lewis said.

“My mother, she might smack me in the back of the head trying to buy some shoes for a 100-something dollars. I heard a lot of people [were] waiting in line. I guess Jordan is the man. It’s unbelievable how kids wait in line all night for Jordans,” Lewis said.

“If they could do that for school, they might get better grades.”