About the Jordan 13 Retro Melo Class of 2002

Few shoes in the history of sneakers are as iconic as Air Jordans, and few Jordans are as iconic as the 13, which released in 1997. Like all but two of the Air Jordan models worn on court by MJ himself, the 13 was designed by Tinker Hatfield. The AJ 13 represents a close collaboration between the designer and the athlete: Hatfield came to Jordan with an idea, but Jordan offered feedback that would shape the final result.

Jordan 13 History and Design: The Black Cat

After designing ten other iterations of the Air Jordan—one each year starting with the 3—Hatfield needed fresh inspiration for the new model. He found that one day while he watched Michael play—suddenly, it all clicked. Jordan’s grace, power, the audacity of his offense, the way he conserved his energy only to spring at the perfect moment: he looked like a panther. Hatfield got to work right away. When he showed the design to Jordan, the story goes, Hatfield referred to his concept as the “Black Cat” and Jordan was floored – Black Cat was his nickname among his closest friends. And so, the 13 was born.

The Black Cat or panther concept was worked into nearly every aspect of the final product by the time of release. It represented not only a big step forward for the brand aesthetically, but technologically as well. The first Nike shoe ever designed on a computer, it includes a number of high-tech features such as a carbon fiber footplate, a holographic logo, and reflective mesh side panels.

Early sketches called for a strap so that Michael could easily adjust the tightness of the shoe on the fly during a game, but after trying on different prototypes, Jordan nixed the idea. He said that the shoe shouldn’t have anything on it that wasn’t necessary. He wanted simplicity and performance—the result was a streamlined, stylish sneaker that was also the lightest Air Jordan Nike had ever produced.

Jordan 13 Retro Melo Class of 2002 2018

The Air Jordan 13 Retro Mello Class of 2002 is a throwback court sneaker that relives the days of Carmelo Anthony’s alma mater and national basketball powerhouse. Honoring the legacy of Oak Hill Academy, this silhouette is swathed in the school’s colors – black, University Gold, and University Red. The right sock liner bears a tag that reads ‘Class of 2002’, while the left sock liner displays Melo’s personal logo. Besides these touches of memorabilia, the shoe itself is a classic Air Jordan. Featuring the traditional Air Jordan 13 outsole, a synthetic leather tongue, lots of leather and suede along the top and front, and nylon mesh side panels, it’s a stylish and resilient sneaker both on and off the court. And because of its Nike Zoom cushioning system in the sole, it’s versatile yet comfortable.