Paolo Banchero Will Debut the Air Jordan 38 During the First Round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs

Jordan Brand is ready to reveal the latest shoe in NBA icon Michael Jordan’s signature franchise, the Air Jordan 39, and it will do so with the help of one of its youngest stars: Paolo Banchero.

The Orlando Magic forward, who signed with Jordan Brand in October 2022, will wear the Air Jordan 39 during Game 1 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs on April 20. Banchero and the Magic will face the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first round.

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“It’s an honor to represent the Jordan family in wearing the Air Jordan 39s for our first playoff series of my career,” Banchero said in a statement. “MJ’s legacy is rooted in historic playoff performances, and to have the opportunity to honor that in unveiling the 39s is truly special for me.”

With the Air Jordan 39, Jordan Brand explained that it was focused on keeping players “low and connected to the floor” while “enhancing the ability to change directions.” Specifically, Jordan Brand looked at MJ’s classic cross-step move and his ability to quickly change directions to inform how it wants the Air Jordan 39 to perform on the court.

To achieve its mission, Jordan Brand equipped one if its shoes for the first time with full-length Nike ZoomX foam — the same tech used in the Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% running shoe that Eliud Kipchoge wore to break the two-hour marathon distance barrier — which was added to offer a propulsive, cushioned feel.

Nike ZoomX foam, according to Jordan Brand, delivers an 85 percent energy return. The Nike ZoomX foam is placed atop full-length Zoom Air foam, which Jordan Brand said was added to offer a responsive sensation underfoot.

Also, the rubber outsoles — which were designed with a herringbone traction pattern for quickness and control — wrap into the mid foot and TPU was added stabilize the foot when changing directions. And the construction of the shoe, Jordan Brand explained, helps the foot “hold onto the footbed to prevent it from crashing into the toe box.”

As for the uppers, Jordan Brand stated it added an embroidered textile that is adorned with a computational design inspired by footwear tests from the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL). After breaking down the cross-step mechanics via high-speed cameras, the brand said its designers created a “unique pattern shaped by the flex zones of the shoe as it bends from changes in direction.” The upper also features natural leather overlays to contain the forefoot in high-stress areas.

Paolo Banchero, Air Jordan 39, Jordan Brand
Paolo Banchero in the Air Jordan 39.Courtesy of Jordan Brand

In terms of aesthetic details, the shoe is replete with nods to Jordan history, including his Air Jordan 9 shoe, the No. 23 he famously wore and his cross-step move.

For instance, it features flexible tongues with what Jordan Brand described as a “blown-up version” of the global emblem on the heel of the Air Jordan 9. The same global emblem pattern, Jordan Brand explained, is on the midfoot rubber, with 39 panels to represent the Air Jordan 39. Also, the triangular perforations on the vamp serves as a nod to changes in direction. And there are 23 perforations on both the medial and lateral side on the shoe’s bootie, 39 under the vamp and nine that cover the toes.

Jordan Brand confirmed it will release nine colorways of the Air Jordan 29 from July through spring 2025.

The first colorway to release is “Sol,” which will arrive on July 23, an all-white colorway. Following “Sol” is “Lumière” on Aug. 6, which is a black-and-white colorway that Jordan Brand said is a “nod to the Parisian lights and the city’s skyline at night.”

Other colorways include “University” (an homage to MJ’s college days), “Croix” (a black-and-white colorway inspired by his cross-step), “Baron” (inspired by his stint playing minor league baseball), a PE for Chinese Basketball Association player Guo Ailun in seafoam green, “Heritage” (a red colorway to honor his Chicago Bulls days), “Style” (inspired by his ’90s style and his collection of suits) and the sleek black “Noir.”

About the Author

Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at

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