Seattle transplant, sneaker enthusiast, breaks + beats growing up with SL1200s, huge graffiti head in the 90's,
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| Posted in | Posted on Monday, February 12, 2018

Do You Know? Check out's blog for the full Air Jordan III black/cement feature along with some of today's heavy-hitters in the Philippine sneaker scene. @titan_22 #FLOTG #NT
(pic courtesy of Sebastian)

Also, you can check out my entire and unedited Air Jordan III black/cement piece below.  


The term O.G. was first used to describe old-school gangsters or "original gangsters," then was later used in the sneakerworld to tag retro sneaker releases with the "OriGinal" build. What a lot of people now don't know is that years before all the limited colorways and quickstrike releases started coming out, sneaker collectors went after vintage pairs and called the most elusive ones their "holy grail." The difference is, back then there was no Internet and people like me mostly relied on small sneaker shops with unsold pairs in the stockroom even though most of the time they were either all gone or they didn’t have my size anymore. The next best thing was to wait for the next Air Jordan model to drop, which wasn’t due until the following year. (Nike only released a few colorways each year.)

Enter my decades-long history with the Air Jordan III black/cement. I was in third grade when I first heard about the Air Jordan shoe. As a 10 year old boy, I went to either my parents or my grandparents (who at that time were living in Oakland, CA) to ask for one. I remember back then I was only allowed to have 1 pair per school year so when I saw a poster of Michael Jordan wearing them, I knew I just had to have them. Not aware of when they originally dropped, I wrote to my grandparents and asked if they could send me a pair for my birthday. What came in the mail months after became the start of my obsession with sneakers.

“These are the wrong shoes,” I yelled as I opened the box and stared at them in dismay. They were a pair of Air Assault in white and blue, not the Air Jordan III black/cement I was dying and hoping for. The package came with a note from my grandparents apologizing saying that the ones I wanted were no longer available so they bought me the next “hottest” basketball shoes according to the sales associate. “But there’s no Jordan on the tongue and no bubble,” I muttered. (We didn’t call it Jumpman yet plus the visible Air was new so calling it a bubble wasn’t weird at all.) My parents felt so bad that they ended up buying me a pair of Air Jordan IV in black and red as soon as Christian Joel in Greenhills got them, exceeding my yearly sneaker allowance. (Yes, Greenhills at one point sold original sneakers through PX stores that brought in imported goods.)

Fast forward to 1995 when I switched schools and came across a “lolo” who walked around Greenhills as his daily morning exercise while rocking a pair of crisp Air Jordan III black/cement. “No way he kept them that fresh,” I said to myself, not knowing that they were re-released the year before. Retros weren’t a thing yet and most of the sneakers that we bought were either “classics” that were never taken out of the market (i.e. Cortez, Air Force 1, etc.) or the newest Air Jordan/Nike basketball model. I remember seeing boxes and boxes of the white/cement Air Jordan III retro stacked near the entrance of Save-A-Lot Robinsons Galleria collecting dust. Nobody touched them as Nike was killing it with a countless number of beautifully designed basketball shoes especially when 1996 hit.

1998 came and that’s when I realized that there were more people who were into this than I ever imagined and they all utilized the Internet to feed their “addiction.” From sites like VintageUSA, ShoeTrends, eBay, Pat’s Jordan Page and Nike Park (which later became, I began to visit these sites regularly in search for a pair of Air Jordan III black/cement. With the absurd prices online, I just couldn’t get myself to pull the trigger on a pair that most likely will crumble once as soon as I put them on. (Paying $500 and up for a pair was not common in the late 90’s.)

When the 2001 retro dropped, I was heavily involved in the sneaker game. What I thought was gonna be an easy score for me turned out to be another sneaker nightmare. A few botched online deals and local stores not getting them made me almost gave up on ever owning a pair. It just didn’t make sense to me how every pair that I ever wanted made its way to my storage room except for one. Mocha III and true blue III came out later that year followed by the white/cement III a year and a half after but all 3 colorways with the Jumpman logo on the back didn’t fill the void that the Air Jordan III black/cement had created. Thankfully, I was part of a growing community of Niketalkers when one collector from Los Angeles I was in constant contact with decided to unload his sneaker collection for a good price. He sent me a list and, lo and behold, he had a pair of deadstock Air Jordan black/cement III. After 15 plus years, my quest to find and secure my holy grail was finally over. I kept them unworn until when I moved to San Francisco and broke them out when my eldest son visited in 2007.

By 2010 they were already unwearable and started to fall apart on me.

I never bothered with the Air Jordan III black/cement that was part of the Countdown Pack from 2008 because I felt like Nike butchered a classic but when it was re-released again in 2011 as a solo retro with the Jumpman on the back still, I couldn’t resist as nostalgia took over me so I just had to let Miss Mae (CMM of Nike Philippines) and the Titan family know that I badly needed a pair.

When Michael Jordan celebrated his 50th birthday in 2013, rumors flew of another “OG” remake after an ESPN video showed the infamous Air Jordan shoe in the back. Silly me for holding my breath thinking that it would drop later that year or even in 2014.

So here we are in 2018, two “Nike Air” + two Jumpman retros later and 30 years since my all-time favorites were initially released, the original holy grail is finally back after 17 years and I am still hyped as ever.
 (pic courtesy of Sebastian)

 (pic courtesy of Sebastian)

Original. (First to have the Jumpman logo, cement print and visible Air.)

Gangster. (Worn by countless late 80’s and early 90’s rappers.)

Grail. (Read everything again just in case you missed it.)

Triple OG by any standard.

Greatest Air Jordan ever? You betcha. Why? Because more often than not, our history with a shoe is far greater and more memorable than the influence behind it.

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