TBT: The Tragedy Behind Isaac’s Successful Jordan 5 Doernbecher

TBT: The Tragedy Behind Isaac’s Successful Jordan 5 Doernbecher

You know what day it is. And Thursdays at ANB call for a throwback to iconic sneakers. This week ANB is throwing it back to a legendary Jordan. A Jordan with a very emotional backstory. The 2013 Retro DB Air Jordan 5 Doernbecher. So many of you know this one, but only true sneaker gurus know the story behind it.

All about the Famous Doernbecher Series

The Doernbecher series within the Air Jordan brand is without a doubt special like no other. And for those who do not know, the series started out in 2007 as a collaboration between Nike and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. This partnership gave patients a chance to design their very own custom sneakers. Super cute, isn’t it? The sneakers would turn into special edition Jordans for years and years ahead. We love good TBTs and kicks that made a huge success in the past. But some stories behind those exclusive Jordans are heartbreaking!

So, what is it with 2013’s Jordan 5 Doernbecher?


This Doernbecher was the design of a young athlete, Isaac Arzate. In January 2012, Isaac suffered a cardiac arrest while playing basketball. This is when he became a patient at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Isaac recovered from his open-heart surgery and was then invited by OHSU to participate in the 2012 Freestyle program. The young athlete began sketching his design of the upcoming Air Jordan 5 Retro, while still in the recovery phase.

Throughout the design process of his Jordan 5, Isaac made sure to include all his interests and experiences in the game. A few months later, in April of that same year, the 12-year-old suffered another heart attack. But this time, young Isaac did not make it.

What Happened to Isaac’s Doernbecher?

Following his tragic death, Nike and OHSU invited Isaac’s family to finalize the design their son started. Together, they were able to bring together all of Isaac’s ideas and visions of the Jordan 5 Doernbecher. The design clearly reflected the young man’s interests, dreams, wishes, and the things that mattered most to him:

1. The numbers on Isaac’s Jerseys: 9 for baseball on the upper of the left shoe, and 31 for basketball on the right.
Jordan 5 Doernbecher numbers

2. Isaac’s initials on the inside of the tongue along with his dates of birth and passing.

Jordan 5 Doernbecher initials and dates

3. Verses of a poem that he wrote a day before passing away dress the black patent leather uppers in black color. Some of these words are: “My team. My family. We are brothers forever. No matter what.”

Jordan 5 Doernbecher poem words

4. Isaac loves video games. And to portray this, each pair included a flashlight, along with an overall glow-in-the-dark effect. The glow-in-the-dark parts include the eyelets, lace toggle, outsole, Nike Air branding and the quarter panels.

Jordan 5 Doernbecher glow-in-the-darkJordan 5 Doernbecher glow-in-the-dark

This week’s TBT was a heavy one that definitely touches the heart. Famous for their unique colorways and high resale value, Doernbechers in general are usually a big W. This one in specific, though, is on a whole other level. Each pair from this series makes an unforgettable collector’s piece and an awesome flex pick if you’d rather wear them grails.

The Jordan 5 Doernbecher retailed for $180 back when it dropped in 2013. Believe it or not, today, the shoe is reselling for an average of 980$! In order to cop the next Doernbecher pair, stay tuned to ANB and make sure you have a great bot up your sleeve. Because you won’t be getting a piece of this success if you don’t bring out your A-game. And to achieve that, you’ll need the best bots,  proxies, and mostly: cop in bulk.

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