If there is any constant in the 20-plus year history of the Air Jordan, it’s that whatever swings one way usually comes back the other. And after the radical design of the XI, Hatfield and Jordan came back with a more traditional look for the XII. It shared many of the XIs technological advances—the carbon spring plate and the Zoom cushioning—but traded the mesh-and-patent upper for good ol’ fashioned full-grain leather.
The tradeoff was that the XII wasn’t as fast-looking as the XI—but the support it provided was even great enough for Bulls centers Luc Longley and Bill Wennington, who wore it (along with Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc and Ron Harper) for parts of the ’96-97 season. Different shoe, same results for Jordan and his teammates, though. Championship number five, this time over the Utah Jazz.