Air Jordan XIX
Tate Kuerbis was back at the helm, designing the Jordan XIX alongside Jason Mayden, Wilson Smith, Josh Heard, and Suzette Henri. With the XIX, the idea was to cook up a shoe in the Innovation Kitchen with an entirely lace-less system. Jordan's chefs did it again, space-age directional mesh called tech-flex allowed for players' feet to remain stable and supported (although they did use a thin lace as well). The SE version went back to conventional lacing in case it was in a player's head that the other pair wasn't going to keep their ankles from breaking.
The marketing plan was all set to roll out for the XIXs but there was one little issue—it had to be completely re-worked for the "black mamba" sneaker because Michael is afraid of snakes. Kobe Bryant should remain forever thankful (for this and, um, pretty much his whole career.) The first shoe since the IX that MJ never hooped in, Amar'e Stoudemire rocked them in the '04 Olympics but STAT and Team USA fell short of the gold for the first time since '88. This time, it probably wasn't the shoes.