Some waited for days, most for hours, to be there as the clock struck 6:23 a.m. Saturday at the new Nike Michael Jordan brand store on State Street in downtown Chicago.
The store’s opening time paid homage to Jordan’s six NBA championship titles with the Chicago Bulls, and, of course, the number known around the world.
Lorne Kramer, 35, of Glen Ellyn, waited in line for nearly seven hours with his girlfriend. He made it out of the store with shoes for himself and his girlfriend.
“One of the shoes I wanted was sold out, but I’m really happy about the rest,” he said.
Among the Chicago exclusives at the store is the “XXIII” shoe, which is all red and features a mini-Chicago skyline and a “CHI” logo.
Louie Cabrera walked out with several bags.
“I got three [Air] Jordans — one exclusive to the city, so I’m really excited about it,” said Cabrera, 33, of Jefferson Park. “I watched the championship years, grew up being a big-time Chicago sports fan, follow everything Jordan.”
Cabrera said he considers the Jordan brand part of his “fashion.”
Some who showed up for the opening of the store at 32 S. State St. had profit on their minds: They walked in, bought shoes, then sold them for more than they’d paid as soon as they exited the new store.
The new store — a partnership with Footaction — features a hand-painted mural of Jordan’s dunk from the free-throw line and other artwork dedicated to Jordan.
The building is also home to “Studio 23,” a private training space with a basketball court and a weight area. Basketball teams are invited to the space or can ask to use it.
Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler stopped by to check out the space as the Marian Catholic high school varsity basketball team practiced.
Marian Catholic was one of five teams invited to check out the training space. Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery also visited Saturday afternoon.
Earlier, the varsity Fenwick team shot around with coaches. Fenwick varsity coach Rick Malnati said his team, too young to remember Jordan’s championship days, still appreciates the legend.
“Michael is still relevant today, and he’s still a guy that our kids completely look up to,” Malnati said.
“Normally, even if I tell the kids to be at the gym by 8 o’clock, they get there around 7:55 a.m.,” Malnati said. “Today, they were there at 7 o’clock. They were very excited.”
The opening also brought out Michael Jordan’s son, Marcus Jordan, who said he’s hoping to open an athletic boutique of his own and is doing research. He said he’s in awe of the type of response his father still gets in Chicago.
“It’s unreal,” Marcus Jordan said. “The lines are wrapped around the block. They’re just shuttling people in and out. So it’s really cool. I heard some people were camped out since Wednesday.”