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In light of Michael Jordan‘s popular docu-series, The Last Dance, Virgil Abloh sat down with ESPN and The Undefeated, to talk about the immense influence the NBA icon has had on his life as a designer.

Abloh, who was 17 years old during the ’97-98 run, which the doc is based on, claims Jordan’s career had a lasting impact on him. To this day, Abloh, who has designed his own versions of four pairs of Air Jordans, credits Jordan as one of his greatest inspirations,

Abloh describes growing up in Chicago and idolizing Michael Jordan as “a superman figure.” “When you’re watching Jordan, you sort of believe anything’s possible,” he explained.

It’s what informed his love of Nike Jordans. His first pair? Jordan 1s in a black and blue colorway. “When you put them on, I don’t care what you are, who you are … you felt like you could tap into Jordan himself,” Abloh details. “It was to the point where I would only wear Nike and Jordan shoes as a kid … I wouldn’t be caught in anything else.”

Michael Jordan’s spirit is something Abloh says his design has largely been shaped by. “What I distinctly remember doing as a teenager was think, ‘If this guy is proving that you can win with style and grace, by being determined and working hard, I’m literally gonna apply that to my life as a designer.’” His philosophy now is to “bring the magic that was a part of Michael Jordan’s DNA to a younger generation.”

Virgil Abloh shared his story with ESPN and posted a snippet to his Instagram earlier today. Watch it below and head over to ESPN to watch the full feature.

Words by Sarah Osei
Senior Music Editor / Features Writer