This weekend is well over and another Jordan release is in the books. It’s somewhat shocking that it went off without a hitch of any violence given the hype behind the release. It wasn’t a typical Jordan. Although, it was an Air Jordan 5, it was a rare and extremely limited release, given that it was part of Nike’s Doernbecher “Freestyle” program.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Doernbecher Freestyle Program, it’s a collaboration of Nike and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Salem, Oregon. In 2004, Nike’s Global Creative Presentation Director and member of the Doernbecher Foundation Board of Directors, Michael Doherty, and his then-teenage son pitched the idea of the freestyle program as a creative way to raise money and awareness for the hospital. Since then, Nike has released the highly customized kicks every year with more anticipation and demand in every release, with all proceeds going to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
This recent release of the Doernbecher Air Jordan 5 was different. Like every DB before it, it had an incredible amount of inspiration and story telling behind it, but it was the first DB release where the patient who designed it had passed away.
Isaac Arzate was a huge sports fan. He played baseball where he pitched a no-hitter and basketball where he was apart of a perfect season that concluded with a championship. In January 2012, at the age of 12, Isaac suffered a heart attack at basketball practice and was taken to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital where doctors discovered an abnormality that is most common for heart attacks in young people. While in Doernbecher, Isaac was invited to join the highly acclaimed free style program where he began designing his Air Jordan 5, telling his story and sharing his inspirations. Isaac eventually became well enough to be a spectator at his basketball teams’ games, wearing his jersey in the stands and even shooting around during breaks. However, in April of 2012, Isaac suffered a second heart attack and did not survive. Nike and Doernbecher invited Isaac’s family to finish his design of the Air Jordan 5. His family completed the sneaker with inspirations that mattered most to Isaac, including his baseball jersey number “9” that can be found on the left shoe and “31” that can be seen on the right. Throughout the shoe, you’ll see words. Those are words from a poem Isaac wrote a day before his passing. Parts of the shoe read:
“My team. My family. We are brothers forever. No matter what.”
Isaac’s Air Jordan 5 also comes with a combination of a flashlight, laser pointer and a black light (to highlight the wording). The light combo derives from Isaac’s love for video games.
With such a highly anticipated release, I somewhat expected something to happen in the realm of; theft, fighting, possible riots and maybe even someone getting assaulted, as we’ve seen with previous Jordan releases. The launch was a bit more controlled, however, only being sent to ten Nike accounts nationwide as well as online at Nike.com. Nike, using their highly criticized Twitter RSVP service, managed to control the lines and riots. With only ten accounts in the US getting the highly anticipated shoe, resell value is still extremely high and left a variety of people upset they weren’t able to cop a pair. From resellers, to sneakerheads, Jordan fanatics and just people that loved the story, it was a must have, no matter the price. In Las Vegas, rapper Trinidad James showed up trying to get extra pairs—seeing as how he had his pair already—and ended up paying up to–and possibly more than–$600 per pair outside of Caesar’s Palace. That was only the beginning of it. On eBay, several pairs have already sold for over $1,000 with a few going for over $2,000. The demand for these made high prices inevitable, as it is with any Doernbecher shoe. But paying over $1,000 for a shoe? This goes back to my recent story about how ridiculous the market is getting. The story is touching and the shoe is fantastic, but chances are, people are only buying this shoe to store in the box in their closet or sneaker sanctuary, which will not be seen anytime soon. Another aspect of being a sneakerhead I fail to understand, but it seems to have a large spot in the culture.
If you were lucky enough to get a pair, why did you get them? Because it’s a Jordan? To resell it? Or because the story behind it?
**To date, the program has raised more than $6 million to help expand pioneering research, support clinical care, purchase state-of-the-art equipment, recruit new experts and help cover the cost of care for families most in need.
ON FOOT REVIEW: AIR JORDAN 5 DOERNBECHER “ISAAC ARZATE”
Video courtesy of Collective Kicks
Photos courtesy of Nike Insider