Tomas Elias Gonzalez Benitez

The best athletes in the world are characterized by their performance in matches. However, the world of marketing is very important in the life of each of them, since many figures came to make more money with their brands than with their sports contracts. An example is David Beckham, Ronaldinho or Leonel Messi. Today, we will talk about one of the most famous for his game and for his brand from Nike, Michael Jordan.

One More Shoe From The Heap.

Shoes were just shoes during the early 80-odd years of the 20th century. Then in the mid-1980s, Nike released a pair of basketball shoes featuring an ex-Tarheel. The Air Jordan was born, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tomas Elias Gonzalez Benitez

A Regulation That Was Not Enforced

As legend has it, the iconic Air Jordan sneaker series almost never took off. Shortly after Michael Jordan introduced the Air Jordan I, the NBA intervened and banned the shoes because they featured “non-regulatory” colors. Suffice it to say, Jordan didn’t listen and thus began the great basketball shoe boom.

Below is a look at each and every pair of Air Jordan shoes released by Nike, a total of 35 in total (not counting the many retro color combinations and variations). Next to each pair is the Nike slogan for the shoe (if applicable) and the year they debuted.

Tomas Elias Gonzalez Benitez

The Great Creation

The shoe was born after an agreement signed in 1984. At the time, Converse was the official shoe of the NBA. The company told him that they couldn’t put Jordan above the other athletes they sponsored, which included players like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, so Jordan decided not to partner with them. His favorite shoe at the time was actually Adidas, but the brand told him they just couldn’t make a shoe work at the time. Jordan’s agent, David Falk, wanted him to go with Nike, which at the time was best known for its sneakers, but Jordan wasn’t interested. So Falk appealed to Jordan’s mother, Deloris. “My mother said, ‘You’re going to listen, you may not like it, but you’re going to listen,'” Jordan recalls. Nike offered him a lot, said he would have to be a fool not to accept it. So did Jordan.

How the Air Jordan got its name

From there, he tried to get Jordan his own shoe. “Nike had just introduced this new technology for its running shoes called air soles,” says Falk. “And obviously Michael played on air, so I said, ‘Got it, we’re going to call it Air Jordan.’

“Nike’s expectation when we signed the deal was that, at the end of the fourth year, they expected to sell Air Jordans for $ 3 million,” recalls Falk. “In the first year, we sold $ 126 million.”

Tomas Elias Gonzalez Benitez

How the Air Jordan became iconic

Legend has it that the NBA banned the first version of Michael’s Jordans, claiming they violated the league’s rule that a shoe must be primarily white and reflect the colors of the team’s jersey. Jordan was reportedly fined $ 5,000 for each set that he wore the banned Air Jordan 1 sneakers, and Nike paid the fines, happy to capitalize on the hype.

But, when it comes to the popularity of Air Jordans, the rest is history. The shoe became a must-have status symbol in the late ’80s and’ 90s, and it’s still a street style staple today. “For a kid, it was almost like having a lightsaber, from Star Wars,” explains rapper Nas in the documentary. “You needed that shoe to be like him. It was more than a status symbol, you knew this boy was the boy.” Jordans made sneakers a part of pop culture.

Tomas Elias Gonzalez Benitez

The legacy of Jordan 1

For his final game at Madison Square Garden as a Bull, Jordan chose to wear his Jordan 1s, the first shoe he ever wore to play at MSG, his favorite place to play, he says in the documentary. Of course, it didn’t turn out as expected, “by halftime my feet are bleeding,” says Jordan in the paper, admitting that “innovation has taken a long turn,” but he stood his ground.

The Air Jordan has now undergone numerous iterations, but the Air Jordan 1 is still iconic, which is why the original version is still in production today. And after watching The Last Dance, I have been officially influenced to invest in a pair of Jordans.

July 1, 2021

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