At first, the popular hashtag of the weekend, #FromChicagoForChicago, referring to the grand opening of the Jordan flagship store, can seem misguided. Technically, His Airness isn’t “from” Chicago, rather North Carolina by way of Brooklyn.
Upon stepping inside the store located at 32 S. State St, though, it all makes sense. The Jordan shrine pays homage to his playing days as a Bull, of course, but also recognizes Jordan Brand ambassadors who hail from the city including Juwan Howard, Quentin Richardson, Jabari Parker, Michael Finley and Bobby Simmons.
There’s also featured artwork from Chicago’s favorite artist Hebru Brantley throughout the store, including a dope painting, Jordan Flyboys, and a customized Jordan M11. The store will rotate its featured artist throughout the year. Trashhands has several pieces in the store, as well, including images on t-shirts. Artwork on the floor, stairs, walls, everywhere, all looks to highlight Mike’s accomplishments and affiliations with the city.
Downstairs is the retail area, full of exclusives that have likely since sold out, including the OVO X’s, and Chi “XX3’s” as well as general release Retros and newer products like the Jordan Flex Trainer. There’s also plenty of apparel on tap as well.
Upstairs, however, is the best part, in my opinion. “Station 23.” It’s a members-only section, similar to New York’s Terminal 23, exclusive to those who sign up in advance or to specially invited teams and athletes. During a private media preview on Thursday, fitness and basketball skills trainers took a small group of us through a tight circuit working on ballhandling, shooting, core strength and explosiveness. It’s stocked full of equipment including kettle bells, TRX, medicine balls and more.
Wrapping around the top of the gym like a track in an old YMCA, there’s a lounge and customization area. The space isn’t large enough for an official size court, unfortunately, but there are two rims. There are two large screens on the North wall which feature drills designed specifically by Jordan Brand athletes Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. Still waiting on the MJ package...
The store will be a hit because everybody loves Jordans and they continue to be the top-selling basketball shoes in the world. It will be interesting to see how they use the store for special events and releases, but it will no doubt be in high demand.