Back in the late 1980s, Spike Lee helped Nike put Air Jordans on the mainstream map with his entertaining portrayal of Mars Blackmon, a hype man of the highest order who contended in a series of now-classic commercials that the greatness of Chicago’s otherworldly basketball superstar could be attributed to one thing: “It’s gotta be the shoes.” Truth be told, there was a little more than just sweet footwear at the heart of No. 23’s unrivaled brilliance, no matter how much of a global phenomenon the Air Jordan empire has become in the last 30 years or so.
In the years since, sneakers — from Nike, adidas, Reebok, Fila, Converse, Under Armour and more — have become an intimate part of an NBA player’s identity. And in the upcoming release of 2013-14 Immaculate Basketball, Panini America will pay tribute to that trend in true groundbreaking fashion with a pair of insert sets that feature the most extensive — and jaw-dropping — use of game-worn NBA shoes in trading card history.
Read more: The Official Blog of Panini America