By 1991 it was apparent that Tinker Hatfield wasn’t going anywhere when it came to the design of the Air Jordan line. He brought to life three brilliant concepts and the Air Jordan 6 would be no different. Once again the shoe would undergo a number of changes from the previous model. Of those changes, the most notable would be a clean open toe with no overlays, a request MJ asked for specifically. On the tongue, two holes were added at the top so MJ could slide his fingers through, as well as a back tab loop, which made the shoe easier for Jordan to get on. Five original colors released with the shoes initial run in 1991. The Jordan 6 was the last model that Nike Air branding would appear on the exterior of an Air Jordan and also the last time an Air Jordan would feature a visible Air unit until the Air Jordan 16.
In ’91 everything was coming together for the Chicago Bulls. They had been on the verge of the NBA Finals for two consecutive seasons and the only place for the team to go was up. They tore through the regular season winning 61 games behind Jordan and his league-leading 32 points per game. Phil Jackson was able to get more out of the Bulls than previous coach Doug Collins had. The same can be said for Jordan, who elevated his game to new heights. He was selected to the All-Star team, First All-NBA and All-Defense, and was named the league’s MVP for the second time in his career. For the first time in his career, Michael Jordan would win the Associated Press Athlete of the Year Award as well as being named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year.
When the playoffs rolled around the Bulls were charging full steam ahead with an opening matchup against the Knicks, who they swept in three games. In Game 3 Jordan had a now-iconic dunk over Knicks center Patrick Ewing wearing the Black/Infrared Air Jordan 6. The Bulls would then storm through the 76ers in five games, leading to another matchup with conference foe the Detroit Pistons. Detroit and their ‘Jordan Rules’ had dominated Chicago in previous years, but they posed zero threat in 1991. Chicago swept them 4-0 in the conference finals, leading them to the NBA Finals. Facing Magic Johnson and the Lakers, Chicago would drop Game 1 with Jordan’s former teammate college teammate Sam Perkins hitting the game-winner. However, Chicago won the next four en route to their first NBA title and the first of six Finals MVP for Air Jordan.
The Air Jordan 6 advertising campaign was the last time we would see Mars Blackmon for quite some time. Nike would again have a memorable set of spot ads for the Air Jordan 6, in particular one that featured music legend Little Richard as a genie. The shoe would again make some prominent TV appearances on shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Home Improvement, and Family Matters. On the silver screen, the shoes appeared in the film White Men Can’t Jump on the feet of Junior in the opening scene.