A View of the Air Jordan 3 Retro Kobe Bryant

Considered one of the most recognized sneakers of all time, the Air Jordan 3 introduced many firsts for the brand. First and foremost, Michael Jordan's third signature sneaker introduced the now-revered Jumpman logo—a silhouette of His Airness leaping through the air mid-dunk—that replaced the popular Wings logo found on the Jordan 1 and 2. It was a brand he could call his own, and a major selling point in his contract renewal with Nike.

The Air Jordan 3 also enlisted a new designer, Tinker Hatfield, already esteemed in the sneaker world and now considered a legend. Hatfield had designed the Air Max 1 and Air Trainer 1, so the introduction of visible Air technology into the Jordan line was a no-brainer. Hatfield worked closely with MJ to incorporate the superstar's vision into the designs. In addition to the Jumpman logo and visible Air, the Jordan 3 also introduced an eye-catching elephant skin print, softer leather and a mid-cut height—moving away from the then-trendy high-top style. The overall design borrows design elements from its famous predecessors, the Air Jordan 1 and 2.

How the Air Jordan III Almost Never Happen

There's the famous story of Michael Jordan almost signing with another brand, and then there's this one—where MJ almost ended his partnership with Nike. Jordan's original five-year deal with Nike yielded $500,000 per year, plus royalties, for a total estimated value of $7M. An early career injury in the Air Jordan 1—a broken foot—caused him to miss much of the '85-86 season and lose trust in Nike's ability to fulfill their promises. Jordan was looking for an out.

The meeting to present the new Air Jordan 3 was a make-or-break situation for the Nike x Jordan deal.

Tinker Hatfield played a significant role in keeping Michael on board, continually advocating for and protecting MJ's input in the design process. At a crucial meeting—the unveiling of the new Air Jordan 3 design—the Nike team reportedly waited four hours for Jordan to show up. It turns out he'd been on the golf course with new prospective partners. When MJ finally arrived, Hatfield knocked his socks off with the Air Jordan 3 prototype and an apparel line. And though it was Hatfield who saved the deal, Jordan's parents also influenced his decision, reportedly telling him that his actions were "embarrassing", recalling the influence they had on their son when he signed with the brand in the first place.

Jordan 3 Retro PE x Kobe Bryant White 2016

The Air Jordan 3 Retro Kobe Bryant was created specially to honor Kobe's career in the NBA. The sneaker comes in the Lakers colors, which are white, purple, and gold. The Jordan 3 Retro Kobe Bryant has a white upper with gold and purple accents. The Air Jordan 3 Retro Kobe Bryant also has grey-elephant print overlays at the heel and the toe. There is a gold Jumpman on the tongue that complements a second Jumpman shape on the heel protrusion. The gold Jumpman is outlined in purple. Jordan 3 Retro Kobe Bryant was never released to the public. The sneakers were, however, released to family and friends and made available at for an auction held on February 13th, 2016.