Aside from a championship, every athlete and every aspiring athlete works toward one goal. This goal is to become a brand and on one did it better the “His Airness”, Michael Jordan. who has completely changed not only how people play basketball, but also what they wear when they play. His and Nike’s flagship of balling shoes, the Air Jordan is making more money than the entire line of shoes Nike has to offer, and these shows sure have an interesting History behind them.
Here are surprising facts you probably did not know about the cult classics Nike Air Jordan.
Adidas Still Can’t Believe How They Lost MJ
When MJ left school in 1984, he was a self-admitted Adidas nut and if Adidas has even given him a deal close to what was offered at Nike he would have signed to them instead. The numbers were actually pretty close but Nike’s deal included a percentage of the sales of brand Jordan and as they say, the rest is history.
How Much is $5,000 Fine Times 82 Games in a Season?
Nike’s first pair of Red and Black Jordans was innocently called “Devil Colors” by MJ who graduated from the University of North Carolina where he wore Blue and White. His college rivals North Carolina State wore Red and Black and everyone knows you never wear your rival’s colors. Another problem with the design of the shoes was that the NBA had banned red-and-black color scheme since it did not match the shoes and jerseys Jordan’s teammates for the Chicago Bulls were wearing. For every game MJ played as a rookie in his Jordan I, The NBA fined him with fancy $5,000. Nike paid his $5000 fee and the rest became sporting history.
When Style Meets Sports
The Jordan II was actually made in Italy thanks to its unusual inspiration; a woman’s boot. The overall design, as well as extras such as having faux lizard skin, brought luxury to the sporting shoe industry. The Jordan II also brought the sporting shoe to mainstream culture and inspired a huge pop culture following.
Nike Surprisingly Drops The Swoosh Sign
Looking to show themselves as a real sporting brand, Nike decided to forgo the iconic Swoosh branding for the Jordan IIs. This lead to a time where design instead of branding became the point of an athletic shoe.
The Born of The Jumpman Logo
Peter Moore left Nike in 1987 and MJ wanted to leave with him. That move would have been the end of brand Jordan. It was Tinker Hatfield’s design for the Jordan III that kept the brand alive with some innovation. How did they do it? Well for starters the Jumpman logo replaced the winged ball; there were air bubbles on the heel, tumbled leather and finally a faux elephant skin look. It was this combination that caused the Jordan line to be around today.
Since Air Jordan had already moved into the luxury market, brand savior Tinker Hatfield wanted to bring the brand more into the pop culture sphere. To do this, he added reflective material from 3M as was previously done by Nike with running shoes. The result was having MJ’s Jordan Vs glittering and sparkling under the lights from the arena and from flashing cameras.
It’s All About Being Committed to The Brand
During the finals of the Bulls vs. the L.A Lakers in the 1991 playoffs, MJ suffered a foot injury. His staff gave him the option of using a special shoe to protect the injury and provide pain relief. As a true showman, Jordan famously said “give me the pain” and he used his Jordan VIs to complete the series.
Air Jordan First Logo
The first drawing of the ball and wings logo was done ad- hoc by Peter Moore; MJ’s visionary agent David Falk came up with the name “Air Jordan”. Back then only tennis players got deals with a signature product so David’s vision included an entire line of bands. Clearly, brand Jordan is something more than a shoe line; it is tied to greatness itself.
The Face And The Brain Behind The Brand
A huge amount of respect must be shown to Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield. During MJ’s first retirement in 1993-4, Hatfield was instructed by Nike to shelve the Jordan line. But he knew MJ would be back and so he kept on designing and the results were the iconic Jordan IX series.
This seems to be a good a time as any to speak about the Jordan IXs; these are the only shoes MJ has never played in for the Chicago Bulls. The IXs were commemorated by being included in a statue dedicated to MJ in 1994 at the United Center located in Chicago.
Hare Jordan Super Bowl Commercial
In 1992, Jordan and Bugs Bunny were the stars in the hugely successful Space Jam franchise. The Hare Jordan Super Bowl commercial originally cost Nike a cool $1 million just to make, six months to produce and the logo and commercial required over 3000 illustrations and a team of 25 artists.
Air Jordan Releases Are Always On The Same Day Of The Week
Air Jordan are mainly released on a Saturday; have you ever wondered why? This is to prevent kids from standing in long lines during school hours instead of hitting the books.
This Is What They Call A Teaser
Throughout the 1995 playoffs, Tinker Hatfield gave MJ a prototype pair of Jordan XIs with the explicit instructions not to wear them because they were not finished and would not go on sale for a few months. Mike being Mike wore them anyway and set off a huge frenzy in the sneaker world.
Add Some More Leather Please
While on the topic of Jordan XIs, the Patent leather found around the shoe was inspired by the protective cover of a lawnmower. It’s obvious that Hatfield loved to tinker with designs, but the leather had a functional use outside of adding a bit of flavor to the lineup. The use of leather assisted with the shoe blowouts MJ had been recently suffering; the leather was both supportive and elastic ensuring a better game for the legend and others to follow.
Air Jordan Sets Apart From The Nike Brand
Is Nike or Air Jordan? In 1997, this question was finally answered when for the first time ever the Jordan XIIIs were released. They were sent out as Air Jordan instead of Nike. The line of shoes while still owned by Nike grew into its own brand and this forever changed how athletes were perceived by the public and most of all, themselves. Athletes became brands themselves, they were added into folklore instead of just being those guys who played sports.
One Final Concert With His Legendary Shoes
To the end MJ was a man of principle; on the verge of his second retirement back in 1998 he rocked a pair of OG Jordan Is. While his feet may have grown a size since he first wore the shoe that did not stop him from finishing with 47 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Imagine how sore his feet were after pushing them to the limit in that game.
This Is How You Sell Shows
As a sneaker, Air Jordan sent waves through the shoe world by being originally priced as a $65 shoe. When the Jordan XVII dropped, it became among the first basketball sneakers to crack the $200 price tag! Luckily the shoes came with a briefcase and an interactive CD just in case you did not realize the awesomeness you were about to wear.