Chicago Bulls

In the next few blog posts we will discuss further the Air Jordans themselves the different iterations of them and also the business of Air Jordan as it continues into the 21st century. Air Jordan shoes were first developed by a guy named Devon Marbury and he was responsible for designing the first ones. All of the Michael Jordan Air Jordan shoes are referred to by their number as they are released. The Air Jordan 1 came out in 1984 and was immediately a huge success especially in its red and black colorway that matched the Chicago Bulls uniform.

This red and black colorway however was very controversial as the commissioner of the NBA banned them from being worn because there was not enough white on them, they were merely black and red. Michael Jordan however did not care because he was making so much money from Nike on the shoe. So he continued to wear them on the court and every time that he would he was fined $5,000. Nike was so smart that they went on to use this as a promotional tool to advertise the shoes. The advertising that they used for the Air Jordan seem to say that the Jordan shoe was banned because it made the wearer so good that it gave him an unfair advantage.

Not to mention the fact that he was fined by the commissioner also gave them and a status and an outlaw status that made them even more popular. Next came the Air Jordan 2s the Air Jordan 1 was so successful they were keen to release a second design. This is also the first shoe that was retailed for $100 and made a splash at this with a lot of money for a pair of shoes but already the prestige and the status of the shoe was causing consumers to shell out more and more money for the hot footwear. The Air Jordan 3 had its level of controversy because Michael Jordan wanted to leave Nike at this point but the Air Jordan 3 is what changed his mind and caused him to stay. This Air Jordan was revolutionary because it had the visible air pocket in the heel which would become a huge selling point for this as well as other shoes down the Nike line for years to come.

This is also the first of the Air Jordan shoes to have the iconic Jumpman logo on it. This also had an elephant print and a different kind of leather that made it feel more luxurious and worthy of its price. This is also when Nike unveiled more of it now iconic advertising for each of these shoes this time starring Spike Lee. Spike Lee became iconic with the shoe as he is a mainstay of New York Knicks sidelines and is often seen heckling Michael Jordan during his games. The Air Jordan 4 came out in 1989 and this was a landmark for the Air Jordan because it was the first one to be released internationally and not just in the US. Spike Lee also returned to do more advertising for this and became even more iconic and doing so. The shoes also became even more iconic because in game 5 of the 1989 NBA first round finals Michael Jordan made an iconic shot to win the game of the last and final game of the series that put them to the next round.

This has been known as the shot and because Michael Jordan was wearing the Air Jordan 4 when he completed the shop it became even more in demand as everyone wanted the show that he was wearing at the time. The next Air Jordan the Air Jordan 5 was released in 1990 some of the more distinctive features are the reflective tongue and the translucent rubber around the trimming and detail. However performance-wise these were not very popular as there were issues with slipping and also the leather turning yellow when they would get wet. The designer is said to have drawn inspiration from World War 2 fighter planes in the design of the shoe and they were still continually very popular even though they were not as popular as the Jordans that came before it. In the next blog post we will continue our dissection of the history of the Jordan.

The Phenomenon

To understand the phenomenon of Air Jordan shoes I think it is important to go back and understand the phenomenon of Michael Jordan himself. This has only developed because of the legend and the performance of the singular athlete. The shoes were an expression of an athlete who dazzled and wowed people like no one before him in the game of basketball. His athleticism and his dominance in the sport were so legendary that people who are not fans of the Chicago Bulls or not even fans of basketball would watch his games just to see him play in the chance that he would hit an impossible shot at the last second or to watch him move through the air towards the basket and like a ballerina. Michael Jordan was born February 17th 1963 and he played college basketball at the University of North Carolina here he was one of the stars and developed a reputation for incredible play especially above the rim.

He is responsible for the winning shot the game winning shot at the 1982 NC 2A championship game against Georgetown which was led by his future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. His game-winning shot and iconic fist pumping afterwards became part of Michael Jordan’s Legend. From then on he went on to play for the Chicago Bulls where he became legendary for making game winning shots. He also won the Slam Dunk Contest in iconic fashion as well. During the slam dunk contest he jumps through the air spreading his legs raising the ball above his head with one hand. This then developed into the iconic jumping man logo that adorns all of the Jordan shoes and differentiates them from all other Nike footwear. Michael Jordan’s performance with the Chicago Bulls was always pointed by his dazzling play above the net especially for the first three championship years.

He was able to see the core and move through Defenders with ease and also able to change and once he was around the net and find a way to score unlike anyone before him. His jumping ability is legendary and this is where the Air Jordan shoe really gained its prestige as a performance shoe. Michael Jordan’s ability to jump so high and with such grace athleticism that the tagline it must be the shoes became part of Nike’s sales promotion for them. Athletes have been used for promoting things forever however this was the first time that a basketball player’s performance was inextricably tied with his Footwear and the product was being so. Air Jordans became popular because Michael Jordan was so good at basketball and so dazzling to watch that everyone wanted a piece of it even those who never planned on playing basketball a day in their life. Michael Jordan retired from basketball and played baseball after the death of his father but returned to the game and went on to win three more championships.

However when he got back he was older and could not move around the basket as well. This is when he developed his legendary fade-away jump shot which was almost undefendable. No one could score while falling backwards away from his defender the same way he did and for this reason he still would put up amazing numbers every single game. The Legend of Michael Jordan continued even after he stopped playing and retired from the NBA. The success of the Air Jordan shoe took on a life of its own after Michael Jordan stopped playing and his legacy as a basketball player is now tangential to the fashion and collector status of the Air Jordan shoe.

The Air Jordan shoe has now taken on a life of its own outside of Michael Jordan but his importance as the beginning of the popularity of the specifics you cannot be overstated. Michael Jordan also won two gold medals with the Dream Team at the Olympics in Barcelona and in Atlanta. All of the success also coincided with promotions for such iconic Brands as Coca-Cola and McDonalds. The great triumvirate of corporate sponsorship combined with Nike made Michael Jordan extremely rich making way more money on promotion than he ever did as a basketball player. The Air Jordan continues to be owned and licensed by Michael Jordan and he continues to make millions of dollars every year off of this you alone not to mention the entire brand of line including apparel and other lifestyle products with his famous jumping man will go on them.

Air Jordan

Air Jordan — The story of Air Jordans and their impact on not only sport culture but pop culture can be traced back to the man himself Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan was and is arguably the most well known and well regarded Sport superstar of all time. His elegant and athletic style of play was revolutionary for the NBA and his success with the Chicago Bulls made him a legend in his time.

He was able to parlay this success into a line of wildly successful shoes that traded on his superstar status . Nike was already a very well regarded company not only in athletic shoes but also in streetwear, offered Michael Jordan a very lucrative shoe deal that promised him revenue in perpetuity in exchange for the use of his name after he was done playing basketball. Starting with the Air Jordan 1 and then continuing on in a regular interval of releases all numbered, each of them developed a cult status around it and became collectors items. In the 90s Jordans would retail for a relatively high price point compared to other shoes like it. But many aficionados many of them young we’re happy to pay the premium to have the coolest shoes around, the Air Jordan. Once Michael Jordan retired the shoes continue to be released under the Air Jordan name and their popularity did not diminish.

As they were released different colors and designs would emerge and make each one a collectors item. And secondary market for Air Jordan shoes emerged both online and in stores. The Air Jordan is recognized as the beginning and genesis of street shoe collecting and culture and is also the pinnacle of that collection. Websites especially eBay are loaded with hundreds of pairs of Air Jordans. The cost for an aftermarket pair of Air Jordans can reach into the thousands of dollars for certain color-ways and designs . Often times collectors of the Air Jordans will never wear them and sometimes will never take them out of the box considering them priceless and valuable collectors items that should be protected as an investment and never worn or gotten dirty let alone use for playing basketball. Air Jordan today is a subsidiary of Nike incorporated and a sub brand that is retailed often at Nike stores. But often times once a new Air Jordan is released it will never make to the shelves before they are pre ordered and snatched up right away.

The brand of the Air Jordan is so strong that many people and collectors have entire rooms and vaults full of Air Jordans and dedicated to nothing but their shoes. This can all be traced back to the marketing genius of Nike that was able to harness the popularity of the superstar Michael Jordan into a brand and which was able to sell shoes for more money than anyone had before but to establish the value early on. Michael Jordan is a superstar that may never be replaced in the same way that Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson can never be the worldwide dominating superstar that they were. But the Air Jordan lives on and many collectors still wait with excitement and thousands of dollars to buy the next edition when it comes out. The new versions of Air Jordan have new colorways and designs that make them even more exciting. Throughout their history Nike has used their extensive technological and design resources to keep the Air Jordan looking fresh and new and different for collectors .

Online buzz and rumors swirl for weeks before the release of a new Air Jordan shoe. The hype and anticipation is like an album dropping or a movie coming out for premiere. The latest Air Jordan to capture the imagination of the world is based on the self lacing Air Jordan shoes from Back to the Future 2. In this film the shoes that Michael J Fox’s character wears lasses itself with the push of a button . The excitement over this technologically advanced shoe has brought the Air Jordan back to the front of the conversation in a way like never before . This level of innovation and marketing is what will keep the Air Jordan Brand strong and the cult around their shoe devoted for years to come.