The shiny, cherry-red basketball shoes hit the market online on December 9th for $220 from Nike. They are already sold out.
The Air Jordan 11 “win like 96” model are marketed as a “bold salute to Chicago” recalling the heyday of Michael Jordan’s career with the Bulls.
In Washington, D.C., a grieving family believes they are the reason 17-year-old Ballou High School student James Anthony Smith is now dead.
“I wish I never bought them,” said his mother Benita Smith on Wednesday after breaking from a hug with a sobbing friend of her son’s. “They were an early Christmas gift. That’s all he wanted. He doesn’t ask for much, so I got them.”
Smith was shot Monday evening during at attack at the basketball court at the Frederick Douglass Recreation Center in SE DC. He collapsed a short distance away. First responders found his shoes missing. He died at a hospital two hours later.
Smith’s family believes the shoes, accented by shiny patent leather, were the real target.
Metropolitan police say they are investigating robbery as a possible motive. No arrests have been announced.
Smith was a junior at Ballou working to get his grades up so he could go out for football in 2018. He aspired to go to college, according to his mother.
“James was a good kid,” said his step-father George Wright. “He wasn’t out here causing any trouble. But it looks like trouble found him.”
“If Michael Jordan and Nike had to pay for some of these funerals out here, they wouldn’t make these shoes as expensive as they are. It’s ridiculous,” Wright added.