Sneakerheads might get excited about the Jordan IX Johnny Kilroy’s coming out October 6th 2012 but hoop history buffs will probably get more excited about hearing the Johnny Kilroy name again.
When Michael Jordan retired the first time, Nike had no plans of retiring the Jordan name even if he was missing curve balls for the Birmingham Barons. Upper Deck, a sports card company with an exclusive contract with Jordan, also had no plans of stopping the production of new MJ cards – they even put out a large number of Jordan baseball cards. So during this time, the creative geniuses behind most of Nike’s advertising, Wieden+Kennedy, came up with a character named “Johnny Kilroy” and a pretty amusing Super Bowl commercial featuring Jordan as Kilroy, wearing the new Jordan IX shoes, and comedian Steve Martin.
Upper Deck was also on board and released a Kilroy card in their Upper Deck SE set.
As cool as the commercials were, thankfully they ended with Jordan’s baseball career. MJ was back and better than ever. The rest was basketball history while Kilroy remained a mystery.