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A specific reason why Michael Jordan played in black shoes: "It was a mentality"

Despite not being a fan of black shoes, MJ wore them in-game to gain a competitive advantage
Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan changed the basketball landscape and sneakers culture with his shoe line. But unknown to many, he hated wearing one color off the court, which has to do with his competitive mentality.

“He does not like black shoes”

MJ didn’t like wearing black shoes. He’s worn black sneakers from his sneakers brand, but if he had his choice, he would prefer another color. Former Jordan brand executive Gentry Humphrey reveals why via an interview with Complex Sneakers Podcast.

“He does not like black shoes. You’ll probably rarely see him wear black shoes. Every time he wore them in the playoffs, it was a mentality. He wanted to wear black shoes based on how he wanted to take his game to the next level when he was in an opponent’s arena. So, he felt this notion of being stealth-like was important. That would be the only time. Casually, though, you’ll never see him wearing black shoes,” Humphrey said.

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Even in choosing colors, Mike did it in a way to gain a mental advantage over his opponents. A good pair of shoes could give a player confidence on the court, but MJ was the only one that took it further. Wearing black shoes in public probably loses its meaning to Jordan.

Of course, there are many black versions of Jordan sneakers and player exclusives. The Chicago Bulls legend was very particular with the players who would rock his brand. But, as Raja Bell found out, no one was allowed to wear MJ’s shoes unless he handpicked them.

Black shoes in sports

In the psychology of colors, black meant seriousness and business-like in sports. It intimidates opponents, but it also has its downside. For example, a study conducted by Frank and Gilovich in 1988 revealed that teams wearing black uniforms tend to get penalized more than their opponents. Black uniforms made people expect violence or aggression.

We’re not sure if MJ was called for fouls more often if he wore black sneakers during games, but he did gain an advantage on the court regarding the intimidation factor. 

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