The Truth about “The Grail”
Anton Roxas on Dec 13, 2018 03:59 PM
Anton Roxas being a die-heard Michael Jordan fan is an understatement.
It was my darkest moment as a fan of the great Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
Forgive me, MJ.
The year was 2011 and the sneaker game in Manila was at its peak. I remember lines outside retail stores being formed during release dates at least two hours before doors opened. On the web, chatter about kicks was non-stop. Once in a while, I would wake up extra early to line-up and cop a certain pair I liked. Sometimes, I would even argue with other sneakerheads online. But, there was one thing that year that I would never ever forget – The Air Jordan XI ‘Concords’.
I just had to have ‘em.
When I found out that they were coming back for the first time in eleven years, getting my hands on them suddenly became a top priority of mine. I have this memory of me as fourteen year old way back in the year 2000, when the XIs were first retroed. So, I was at the mall going up the escalator when I saw them from outside a store sitting pretty on the shelves. The slick black patent leather and Jordan Brand logo couldn’t escape my eyes. There they were, just ready for the taking. Unfortunately, during those days, I didn’t have any money. And convincing my parents to buy me shoes was like getting Charles Barkley to agree to being a playable character on NBA 2K. It was almost impossible.
The struggle was real.
In 2011, I felt the struggle again. I knew securing the ‘Cords was not going to be easy. I had to figure something out. So, like every sneakerhead during those days, I looked online. I listened, asked questions and gathered as much information as I could just to be able to increase my chances of being a proud owner of what I consider as the GOAT of all basketball shoes. The release date was set for December but one fateful day in September, I saw something online and I couldn’t believe my eyes.
No freakin’ way.
Three months before the scheduled official release date of the Air Jordan XIs, resellers came out of nowhere and started showing off pictures of their Concords online. And I’m not just talking about one pair. Some of these dudes had multiple boxes stacked up against each other. Sneaker forums were set ablaze. I was reading all kinds of things. Obviously, the legitimacy of the shoes were immediately in question, resulting in the birth of many keyboard warriors. Amidst the chaos on the internet, one thing was for sure - People were crazy about the Jordans. So was I.
Should I pull the trigger?
There was this one particular person online who was selling what he called, “Early Release” Air Jordan XI ‘Concords’. He sold them at 14,000 pesos which turned out to be about 5,000 pesos more than the retail price. I can’t remember the number of times I zoomed in to the photos he posted of the shoes and how much time I spent comparing them with photos of the Air Jordan XI which Nike released to the public. I could not tell the difference. Now, unlike the year 2000, this time, I had money. My cash and the fear of missing out on the XIs yet again was a bad combination. I decided to pull the trigger.
I will never forget that moment. I met up with the seller at the parking lot of a mall where he pulled out the “Early Release” Concords from the back of his car’s trunk where numerous other pairs were stored. He even offered to sell me a pair of unreleased Jordan XIVs! I was already good though. The greatest shoes of all-time were now mine.
The itch was finally scratched.
When December came along, I actually managed to purchase another pair of Concords. This time, the deal was legit as I got them from popular basketball specialty concept store, Titan. The thing is, I never wore the Titan pair. I put them on display inside what I like to call my Jordan “shrine”. As for the Early Release pair, I made the most out my 14,000 bucks. I wore them literally everywhere.
Times have changed.
Nowadays, the hype for sneakers isn’t as strong as it was back then. In fact, when I found out that the Concords were making a comeback this year with the “45” in the back, adding an OG element to the shoes, I wasn’t even worried. Thanks to Titan, getting Jordans or any other signature shoe is not as difficult as it used to be. I actually got two pairs of Jordan XIs from them when they came out last Saturday. No sweat. I also have a third pair in my preferred size, 11.5, on the way courtesy of footaction.com. What can I say? I’m still crazy about them Jordans.
Be true to the game.
I never told this story to anyone. Until now. As a man who considers himself a die-hard Jordan fan, It’s not something I’m proud of. But, I decided to share it anyway simply because it’s the truth. Michael Jordan has been one of my biggest inspirations in life. I see his influence on people every single day. Just like I see his shoes. And from here on out, I hope that they will serve as a reminder for all of us to be real.
And the game will be true to you.