Yo Fox! Meet Binh, an OG Jordans collector

We spoke with an OG collector about the Black Toe Model

So we connected with @Binhecxit through IG before covid, where we would talk about vintage Jordans every day. We found a common love for back stories beyond sneakers and often fantasize about building what we call “unicorns”… like a pair of 84 Bred Air Ships (MJ P.E) with a Pro circuit sole. He’s also a really chill guy who’s very generous with sharing info and connecting us with the community. You could even say that our collaborations with Binh sparked the creation of the Fictional Archives concept.
I’m gonna say that Binh collects vintage with a very pure approach and we are gonna learn about his journey today. 

Hey Binh, thanks for giving us the honor of interviewing you. Would you introduce yourself to the community? 
First of all, thanks for having me! It’s such a great honor to share with you guys my love and passion for sneakers. My name is Binh Tran (aka @binhecxit). I’m a Vietnamese guy and also an OG collector. Basically, I’ve been collecting original Jordans shoes & memorabilia like clothes, tickets and magazines. Also some vintage non-Jordan shoes.

Looking at your Chicago-color-scheme IG feed, it is obvious that you love MJ a lot!Can you tell us when and why you started this obsession?

To be honest with you, Basketball was not popular in Vietnam back then so I didn’t know who Michael Jordan was when I was a child…. The first time I saw him was in the music video “Jam” when he’s playing basketball with the other MJ, Michael Jackson, whom my dad is a huge fan of.After that, I saw MJ again when the movie Space Jam came out. It became one of my childhood favorites and I loved his character. What’s funny is I really thought he was just an actor … then I grew up and realised he’s a legendary basketball player! So I started watching his videos on YouTube and absolutely fell in love right away by the way he played & the passion he has for basketball.

I believe that you got most of your collection before the Last Dance phenomenon, could you tell us how different it was copping shoes back then vs now? 

Before, we could easily find good stuff on ebay or other market places for decent prices, which is impossible now. The only way is getting directly from the owner. They’re not affordable anymore, and it’s really hard to find a good deal on the markets. Fortunately, I copped most of my shoes before “The Last Dance” and so did you along with me! As MJ’s fan as well as vintage collectors, we love and appreciate the documentation. But the OG game has changed. Suddenly, everything related to MJ got hyped with the prices skyrocketing, essentially Jordan 1 OG 1985.

I noticed that you collect a lot of MJ / Bulls memorabilia beyond sneakers, what is the most interesting item you own? And how and why did you choose to own it? 

I’ve been collecting not only vintage shoes, but also MJ and Bulls memorabilia. But I think the most interesting items are my 1984 Life magazines. I found them back then and got 2 for $6, pretty cool. Nothing special, until I saw the “jumpman” photo which is similar to the iconic jumpman logo so well known today. The original photo was taken in 1984 by Jacobus Rentmesster who sued Nike later on for violating copyright law.  It’s really an interesting story behind that picture.

Do you know what shoes MJ wore in that pic? 

Its’ a pair of New Balance’s but I don’t know the model name, been looking for those for a long time.

One of the posts that attracted me to link up with you were pictures of your Black Toes, can you tell us just how rare they are and how you got yours? 

Black Toe is my favorite original colorway of Jordan 1, Not Chicago or Black/Red! In my opinion, it’s the hardest non- metallic colorway to find. Not too many collectors own them & they didn’t show up so often. That’s why it’s challenging to find a pair of Black Toes, especially in good condition. I was blessed to find my pair from an auction in Japan. I didn’t pay cheap to be honest, but I think it’s absolutely worth it.

I remember us talking about the different versions of Black Toes, what is the rarest version and how many people own them? 

There are a couple versions of Black Toe made back then in 1984- 1985. MJ’s PE (Player Edition) pairs are different from GR pairs with the black tongue, mid-cut, bigger swoosh… etc… you guys can also check out @channelkris for the detail comparison posts & videos  . He’s the owner of PE Black Toe (only right shoe), one of PE Black Toe shoe that still exists today. It’s interesting cos another guy (@holygrail23rockieshoe) owned the left shoe which is game-worn & signed by the GOAT himself. It was on the auction for $50k a couple years ago if I’m not mistaken. However in my opinion, the rarest version of Black Toe is the pair that MJ signed and gave to his friend with “Air Jordan” on the side instead of the wings logo. I believe they’re the earliest sample & similar to the pair MJ wore in the Jumpman photo as well as the pic of MJ with the Black Toe over his shoulder.

How fun was it to recreate a pair of Black Toes with black tongues and can you describe how you felt when you received the custom we made together? 

For a medium collector like myself, owning game-worn or PE Jordan 1 is impossible. So I thought it’d be cool to make a version for myself, and fortunately I met you! You are the one who made my dream come true with awesome works on my Black Toe Black Tongue! It’s fun & the process enjoyable. I’m always pumped when we talk about some new details we discovered, learning something new everyday. It’s incredible to have that beautiful pair in my collection. They’re definitely one of my favorites.

How do you feel about 1985 accurate rebuilds? 

I love 1985 accurate rebuilds. I’m glad to see people bring back the right shape, big swoosh that we all love from 1985 OG Jordan 1. Original Jordan 1 1985’s are not affordable anymore, so more people can have chances to own the accurate pairs throughout rebuilds with decent price. We’re able to bring to real life some rarest sample OG jordan 1 which are just being seen on magazines. How amazing it is! I was so happy to see talented people like you, Max & @mecurymfg recreating those beautiful shoes.

Lastly, what else would you like in your Fictional Archive? 

Now, I’m happy with what I’m doing & I totally enjoy this journey. It’s not just about shoes or money: it’s all about love, passion, friendship & history. My ultimate goal is to complete the whole Original Jordans set from 1985-1999 (Jordan 1 – 14). Then I wish I could own some gamers one day!

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