From The Archives: The Complete History of the Air Jordan 1 ‘Banned’


Editor’s Note: October 18 marks “Banned Day,” the approximate day in hoops and sneaker history on which rookie Chicago shooting guard Michael Jordan rocked an unconventional (at the time) pair of kicks on-court in a preseason game and was subsequently fined for it.

This piece from our archives tells the story behind the Air Jordan 1 ‘Banned.’

In 1984, designer Peter Moore sat down with a young Michael Jordan and designed a shoe that would become the grail of grails amongst sneakerheads decades later.

Moore took the concept from the Nike Dunk basketball shoe and combined them with the greatness and style of Jordan, a young rising NBA star for the Chicago Bulls, and created a masterpiece.

This masterpiece is what we all know as the Air Jordan 1, which features a premium leather upper in a black and red color to match the Chicago Bulls’ uniforms. 

On the ankle of the shoe sat an “Air Jordan” wing logo, something that was new and has never been seen on any Nike model prior to this. People were only used to seeing the Nike Swoosh. Interestingly enough, word on the street is that Moore sketched the wing logo on a napkin while flight-hopping after getting inspiration from a children’s shoe. Who knew something so simple would have revolutionized the sports shoe and fashion industry for many years to come? Moore had designed shoes before but this would be labeled by most as the best yet.

As a young Jordan suited up for his first NBA preseason game in Peoria, he prepared to take the league by storm, scoring 18 points in only 29 minutes of play. It was evident that he would be a problem for his opponents. Jordan’s game was above the level of any other average NBA rookie. It was during that preseason when Jordan would break out this newly engineered signature Nike sneaker. He created a marketing craze and media buzz that the NBA did not like.

On February 15th, 1985, the NBA submitted a letter to Nike Vice President Rob Strasse stating that the red and black shoe that Jordan was wearing on or around October 18th, 1984 was against league policy. The policy requires each player to wear shoes that matches his teammates’ and also matches the team colors, which for the Chicago Bulls is black, red, and white. Because he did not follow league guidelines he was fined $5,000. But Jordan was Jordan. The fine didn’t faze him, so he would occasionally wear his own kicks and he was fined each and every time.

Due to the league’s infamous letter, the Jordan 1 was deemed to be “Banned.” Many of Jordan’s older fans were already aware of the history of this shoe, but Nike really shed light on it in 2011 when it released the buttery soft Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Banned” model that didn’t have much hype on it until months and months after the release. This shoe really puts things into perspective for the “new class” of sneakerheads. It gave them a piece of history.

The original Air Jordan 1 Black/Red colorway has released seven times and in five different variations over the last 30 years, and this silhouette remains top 10 in most people’s collection. Recently we’ve seen pop stars such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Don C, Frank Ocean, DJ Khaled any many more make this model a major key of they’re rotation. It’s a classic, and definitely, a must have for any sneaker fan’s closet.

Image Via: SoleCollector

For anyone asking what all the hype is about? Well to be quite honest, this shoe is just that good! Everyone can relate somehow. For instance…

The Veteran: the one who doesn’t own one sneaker, but this one in particular causes nostalgia for him, so he has to go and purchase this one pair.

Image Via: SoleCollector

The Fan: the ultimate Jordan fan who will never wear them, just sit and look at them for many years along with his extensive collection of other grails.

Image Via: NYTimes

True Love: the one who couldn’t love a human baby as much as he loves these shoes, just flat out love for all Jordan retro models.

The Reseller: the guy that couldn’t rock these to save his life but is hoping there is resell value in this shoe like the 2011 pair and will enter a raffle at every store for a chance to snag pairs to flip.

The Hypebeast: the one who knows nothing about the history but sees the social media hype. So now he has to have them at any cost, even if that means sleeping outside for weeks and skipping his shifts at work.

The Kid: The one individual who honestly just wants the shoe, maybe it’s his first. He had it on his calendar since the info was released to the public and this will be a moment for him to remember forever.

All in all this is a release that everyone can relate to and will have people all over the world going crazy for. Whether you’re the veteran, hypebeast, or the kid, this shoe will unquestionably be the one to remember.

Below you can find a brief history of each Jordan 1 OG colorway that ever released:

1985: Air Jordan 1 Original High

Retail: $65

Image Via: SoleCollector

1986: Air Jordan 1 Original KO

Retail: $65

Image Via: SoleCollector

1994: Air Jordan 1 Retro (the 1st Retro )

Retail: $80

Image Via: SoleCollector

2001: Air Jordan 1 Retro High

Retail: $80

Image Via: SoleCollector

2008: Air Jordan 1 Retro High Strap

Retail: $100

Image Via: Flight Club

2009: Air Jordan 1 Retro High “DMP”

Retail: $112

Image Via: SoleCollector

2011: Air Jordan 1 Retro High “Banned”

Retail: $125

Image Via: SoleCollector

2012: Air Jordan 1 Retro High KO QS

Retail: $125

Image Via: SoleCollector

2013: Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Bred”

Retail: $140

Image Via: SoleCollector

2015: Air Jordan 1 Retro High AJKO “Bred”

Retail: $ 140

Image Via: SneakerNews

2015: Air Jordan 1.5 “Bred”

Retail: $150

Image Via: SoleCollector

2015: Air Jordan 1 Low OG

Retail: $150

Image Via: SoleCollector

2016: Air Jordan 1 High Retro OG “Banned”

Retail: $160

Image Via: @Oldmanalan