Forever 23: Happy birthday to Michael Jordan
You know the man, you know the story.
From being told he wasn’t tall enough to make the varsity team to becoming arguably the greatest to ever play the game of basketball, Michael Jordan’s legend is undeniable.
February 17 marks another trip around the sun for His Airness, so to celebrate we’ve compiled some of our favorite posts about MJ and, of course, his iconic sneaker line.
November 17, 1984 marks the 36th anniversary of the on-court debut of a basketball shoe that changed the game: the Nike Air Jordan 1.
Bulls rookie Michael Jordan laced up his signature model, in what we know now as the “Chicago” colorway, for his team’s match-up with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Sneaker writer Mike Taddow takes a trip back in time to the mid-1980s, where seemingly the fate of one of the biggest athletic companies on the planet hung in the balance.
Anyone who is automatically enthralled with Michael Jordan’s win-at-all-costs antics is in need of some empathy, but people who couldn’t enjoy what they were watching in The Last Dance are in need of some cojones.
Jason Hehir’s documentary on the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty in the 1990s that aired on ESPN this spring, while the country was in the thick of a worldwide pandemic, divided viewers.
Either you think that Jordan is a gambling-addicted bully that needed Scottie Pippen and the Triangle Offense to help him win NBA championships, or you think Mike is just being a leader that tells his team what they need to hear in order to be successful. Music and culture writer Jayson Buford takes a look back at the enthralling documentary from last spring.
While the Air Jordan 11 ‘Space Jam’ was the highlight sneaker of cult classic film of the same name, Mark Wilkins took the time to put together a list of other heat that many people may have failed to notice while watching the movie.
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 Mark Wilkins piece from our archives tells the story behind the Air Jordan 1 ‘Banned.’
Marketing and branding have changed dramatically since Jordan’s first sneaker came out. But, one fact still remains true: a strong ad campaign can make or break an Air Jordan model.
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, it was fairly simple formula: put the new Air Jordan on MJ’s feet, and have him shoot a few commercials. Today, the brand utilizes all types of avenues to promote the newest model.
Drew Hammell looks back at some of the most memorable Jordan ad campaigns; the campaigns that made a great sneaker even greater.
The Air Jordan 1 is the most significant sneaker in modern day sneaker culture. It is literally the sneaker that started it all.
The Air Jordan 1 has achieved several significant milestones throughout its 30-year history and despite the fact that the sneaker has not changed much since 1985, year after the year, the Air Jordan 1 remains one of the most innovative sneakers for reasons that go far beyond modern technological advancements.
Rich ‘Maze’ Lopez takes a trip down memory lane.
Sure, we’re all gunning to add the latest Jordan retro to our collection. But there’s a whole wide world of other Jordan Brand sneakers out there.
As the brand has expanded, it has moved to cover all price-points. The reality is that the number of consumers that buy actual Air Jordan and retro Air Jordan shoes is quite small. Those prices just don’t work for the majority.
But they do create an aspiration for consumers to reach to. They may not have the flagship product, but they still are a part of the brand when they purchase the shoes at the price-point they are comfortable with. And no matter what the price is, they can say they have a pair of Jordans on their feet. That’s an accomplishment in itself to most people, as Brett Golliff explores.
Here’s some more history for you.
To understand the Air Jordan 1 KO, you must first understand the Air Jordan 1. We all know that the Air Jordan was Michael Jordan’s first signature shoe.
Being the young shoe company it was, Nike had a false sense of confidence, and over-produced the Air Jordan 1 which left many pairs sitting on shelves of stores. This led to overstock in pairs and left profits sitting on shelves, quite literally.
They already offered the shoe in damn near every team colorway they possibly could, so the only play left to try was “take it down” or “knock-off” the Air Jordan 1 at a lower price-point. This would be a way of driving the profit margins up on the shoe.
Enter the Air Jordan KO. Brett Golliff has the scoop.
Michael Jordan has not left the building (ESPN Outside The Lines)
23 on 23: The many legends of Michael Jordan (The Undefeated)
Smells like another rose (Sports Illustrated)