Epsilon Magazine


The Case For and Against Buying New Black Cement 3s

By David Blackmon / @Jusdave3_2  

I know, I know “auto-cop” or whatever the kids are saying these days for sneakers that will need to be purchased, but indulge me in the deliberation process that has me somewhat on the fence when it comes to the release of one of Jordan Brand’s most popular shoes.


As iconic and desirable as the Air Jordan 3 “Black Cement” is, a part of me is a little disgusted and annoyed with the Swoosh brand for this game of cat and mouse they love to play with us diehard sneaker consumers. In 2014, after the release of the Jordan 3 “Sport Blue”, Jumpman announced that the Jordan 3 silhouette would take a much-needed hiatus. This one-year hiatus was seemingly the result of paltry sales brought on by a lackluster public appeal for the non-OG colorways brought to market.

Of greater concern to the public were the large quantities of the model being produced, quality issues, and notable changes to the model’s original iterations. Previous OG recreations featured piss-poor leather, not to mention removal of the traditional “Nike Air” on the heel-tab in favor of the Jumpman logo. Colorways like the “True Blue” and “Black Cement” paled in comparison to 90’s versions, receiving an unfavorable reception from Jordan fanatics.

After a one-year hiatus, Jordan Brand resurrected the Air Jordan 3, but not with the fanfare of the much-revered Black Cement colorway. Instead the masses were blessed with more creative interpretations like the Air Jordan 3 “Wool” and the “Cyber Monday”. While these models weren’t complete failures they failed to recapture the nostalgic spirit of the models that started the Jordan 3 craze.

Now after seven years, Nike and Jordan are a week away from dropping one of the most coveted sneaker silhouettes of all time. The sneaker bows in wearing the acclaimed “Nike Air” on the heel and promises to offer premium-ish leather. However despite the appeal and necessity of such a great shoe with all its trademark qualities it feels, how do a say this delicately,… …like bullshit. Jordan Brand isn’t stupid or broke. They know what their consumers want and don’t want. Seven years ago, when they were slinging an inferior model, they knew. They knew how to make it right and they didn’t. They took the $170+ from sneaker enthusiasts and handed them back crap. Now they decide to do it right though, after offering inferior model after inferior model and of course we’re all going to go running back.

Picture by  Nike.com

Picture by Nike.com

We’ve seen this before. They did it to us last year with the Air Jordan IV White Cement. They did it to us with the “Anniversary” Air Max 1 Red and Blue. They sling an inferior sneaker at us year after year, nickel and diming us for hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, and just when you’re fed up and ready to walk away, they sucker us back with what we should have gotten all along. The cat and mouse is played out. I deserve better. You deserve better. We all deserve better.

But then again...


How can you pass on one of the most iconic shoes of all-time?! In 1988, at the time of the Jordan 3’s original release, Michael Jordan was arguably on the cusp of becoming the best player in the league. The Jordan 3 was the shoe to keep him at Nike. The brainchild of Tinker Hatfield featured tumbled leather, a visible air unit, and the first Jumpman logo. A campaign which featured Spike Lee as the fictional character Mars Blackmon (no relation) still rings vividly in my mind.

Aside from the visually enthusiastic marketing pieces, there was Jordan’s actual performance in the three. Jordan’s feet were adorned with the White Cement Jordan 3’ (also receiving a reintroduction this year, sort of) when he famously jumped from the foul line to win the 1988 Dunk Contest. The Jordan 3’s cushioned Michael’s feet all the way to the League MVP title, NBA Defensive Player of the Year, NBA All-Star Game MVP, and becoming a member of the All-Defense first teams in 1988.

The Air Jordan 3 represents the ascension of Michael Jordan to the top of the record books and into the hearts of every young kid who ever held a basketball. Its simple shape and construction make it one of the easiest shoes to wear. Whether it be a spirited game of ball or running errands for your significant other, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better shoe. The comfort and support of the Air Jordan 3 are second only to the iconic and nostalgic associations on which the shoe is built.

In Conclusion

So where do we stand? Many of us have that girl we chased in high school. She’d flirt and want to hang out when no one cooler was around, and just when you’d want to cut her off, she’d hit you with the “hey, how come we never hang out?” or some other platitude that’d send your heart a flutter. So it goes with Nike and I’m kind of over it. The friend zone just isn’t for me. But then again, I’m a sucker for punishment. Maybe this time it’ll be all I can hope for and have dreamt of all these years. Maybe,… just maybe… this time will be different.     


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