Basketball player Michael Jordan is one of the most influential figures of all time, not only in the world of sports but also in business. Although the basketball player himself ended his sports career almost 20 years ago, the sneaker line named after him is just as popular as it was when during MJ’s heyday.
Sportsmanship, perseverance, and dedication are the fundamental values the sneakers represent and an important reason why fans continue buying them.
The first Air Jordan basketball sneakers were introduced in 1985. It’s now been over 35 years, and their influence on culture, fashion, and sports is still strong.
Michael Jordan and Nike company signed a partnership deal back in 1984. At that time, the official NBA sneakers were Converse, and Jordan preferred adidas. Unfortunately, adidas couldn’t offer MJ what he wanted, so his agent insisted on starting working with Nike.
However, since Nike was only known for running shoes then, Jordan had serious doubts about the partnership’s success. He was not interested, so his agent went to his mother, Deloris, for help, who advised her son to at least listen to what Nike had to offer.
Fortunately, Nike made Jordan an offer he couldn’t refuse. The athlete’s father stated that his son would be stupid if he didn’t accept it, so Jordan signed the contract, and the rest is history.
Nike founder Phil Knight wanted to create unique shoes for Jordan, so he hired Peter C. Moore and gave him the task of turning this vision into reality.
Together with Tinker Hatfield and Bruce Kilgore, they created the first sneaker design. Peter drew a logo on a napkin – a basketball with wings – that reflected Michael’s incredible ability to “fly.”
The shoes also featured the Nike Swoosh logo for the first couple of years, but both logos were quickly replaced by Jumpman, showing Michael dunking in the air. The logo was based on the 1984 “Life” magazine photo shoot for the Olympics.
Interestingly, Jordan did not like the Air Jordan 1 at first and did not want to wear it, claiming the sneakers made him “look like a clown.”
Style & Comfort
Of course, today, we look at such comments with a smile because the classic Air Jordan 1 is considered the best of the best and an inspiration. The sneakers not only have a unique design but are also functional and comfortable.
Before the creative process began, MJ told the designers that he wanted to “feel the floor,” so they created shoes combining old Nike models and added a very thin sole.
All Air Jordans are also equipped with the Nike Air Max system that ensures cushioning and maximum comfort.
Banned by the NBA
It wasn’t just Jordan who was skeptical when he first saw the new sneakers. The NBA banned the first Air Jordans because the shoes did not comply with the league’s rules, which state that the shoes must be black and white and reflect the team’s uniform colors.
Jordan had to pay a 5000 dollar fine for every game in which he wore Air Jordan 1 shoes. Nike, of course, covered all costs and enjoyed the free publicity.
Clearly, the league’s opinion has changed, as no less than 36 Air Jordan models have been created to date.
A fun fact. As Michael Jordan’s jersey number has been “23” since his school days, and throughout almost his entire career, it was decided to replace the Air Jordan 23 with just the”Nike Air Jordan” in 2009.
The Air Jordan 1 and other models became a true cultural sensation. In the 80s and 90s, everyone wanted to own at least a pair. That sentiment has not faded to this day.
Jordans were especially sought after by children and young people, as they provided that elusive “cool factor.” Every kid and teenager wanted to emulate Michael Jordan, and wearing shoes with his name made that dream a little more real.
In its first year, Air Jordan made several tens of millions of dollars and earned billions to this day.
Hip Hop & TV
Air Jordans are associated not only with basketball but also with popular culture and music.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Air Jordans were everywhere. They were worn by street kids and stars in Hollywood.
The sneakers were featured in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” with Will Smith, and hip-hop stars like Eminem, Kanye West, and Travis Scott can’t imagine their style without them.
The 1970s was the golden age of basketball shoes, so Air Jordan had a lot of competition, but thanks to Michael Jordan’s popularity and the original shoe design, they quickly became the market leader.
The success was also helped by the fact that Air Jordan shoes were beloved by both professional athletes and by “sneakerheads.”
People would wait hours and even days in lines to get first access to the newest releases. Now that’s wild!
Today & Tomorrow
Why have these sneakers remained so popular to this day? First, it’s nostalgia. The generation that grew up in the 80s and 90s has very strong feelings for their childhood and youth.
The return of retro fashion has also contributed to the fact that Generation Z, who were not even born during the golden days of Michael Jordan, fell in love with Air Jordan as well.
On the other hand, the Jordan brand is constantly evolving and offering something new. Michael Jordan contributes significantly to this success, actively participating in all processes.
For Everyday & Everyone
Air Jordan sneakers look great with both athletic wear and streetwear. With jeans and a blazer? Of course! With joggers and t-shirts? Always! There are no limits to the styling possibilities.
The sneakers are made of natural and artificial leather and breathable lining, protecting the feet, and reducing impact, making them extremely comfortable. Air Jordans also come in various colors, so everyone can find something that works best for them.
Dreaming of a pair of these iconic sneakers? Find your favorite in the SIL.lt online store.