Air Jordan I: The Beginning Of A Legacy

Name: Air Jordan

Release: 1984

Designer: Peter Moore

Believe it or not in the early 80’s Nike was a struggling brand looking for something to open up the flood gates for their success…enter Michael Jordan into the NBA, a young man drafted to the Chicago Bulls in 1984. At that time Jordan had only played basketball in Converse, who at that time was sponsoring both Larry Bird and Ervin “Magic” Johnson and had no interest in the rookie. What is more amazing is that Jordan’s favorite brand of shoes at that time entering the NBA was the widely popular Adidas brand.

Michael was not interested in signing with the Nike brand, but through some persuasion of his agent David Falk and presentations from the brand they were able to come to a deal. With the contract that he signed they thought that the “Jordan” shoe would sell about $3 million worth of product between 3 to 4 years of the shoe coming out…but they were a bit off because in its FIRST year on the market it sold $130 million! One of the key things to note about this fact is that at that time many people in the sports marketing world did not think that you could market a black player to the level where Jordan was reaching and surpassing in the same year.

The sneaker itself was not a big technological breakthrough when it came to what was available on the market at the time, but it featured colors that were not seen on a NBA court. Like most Nike sneakers it had a giant Swoosh on either side of the shoe and looked like a blend of other popular sneakers such as the Air Force 1, Dunk and Terminator.

With its massive success came its controversy as well…for every game that Jordan wore his stunning new shoes he was fined $5,000. This was due to the fact that the black, red and white colors used on the shoes did not adhere to the uniform policy of the NBA. Can you only imagine what shoes you would be wearing if he had packed those shoes up and stuck to their uniform code? I shudder at the thought!

Special Moment:

It was in these very shoes that Jordan scored a record 63 points against a very dominant Boston Celtics in the NBA Playoffs of 1986…it was from that moment on I knew I wanted to “Be Like Mike” When these sneakers were released they retailed at $65…YES $65 and were the most expensive basketball shoe on the market…yet they could not keep it on the shelf. At that time that was considered to be a ridiculous price for a pair of sneakers…but like most I was thinking to myself “how do I convince my parents to spend over $65 on shoes?”

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About Sole Theory

Sole Theory is a sneaker lifestyle guide that explores the social impact of the sneaker culture. Users can expect to gain insight on recent trends, historic brands and signature styles that have heavily influenced the shoe industry. Content will be driven by articles, interviews and reviews that will uncover interesting facts and stories that have rarely been told.