Nike Michael Jordan shoes History
Jordan grew up wearing Converse like his idol David Thompson but when it was time for the NBA rookie to sign a shoe deal he wanted to be an Adidas man. At that time, Adidas was more focused on the international market and didn’t have much of interest in basketball players so Nike offered a deal to Jordan that most would have thought would be too hard to pass up but Jordan went back to Adidas and said if you can come anywhere close to this deal then i’m yours. They passed and Nike won the lottery that day…although it would take a while for them to realize it.
Part of the deal was that Jordan would have his own shoe and much like the Friday The 13th movies where people thought the Hockey mask wearing Jason was the killer (it was his mom & the mask didn’t appear until the 2nd sequel) in the first movie, the original Jordan shoe didn’t have the famous Jumpman logo. For three years It was actually just the wings but the hang tag featured a photo of Jordan which would eventually become the logo.
The story behind the Jordan photo goes like this, the design team in charge of creating the Jordan brand was led by Peter Moore. Peter came across a photo of Jordan in Life Magazine where he was wearing his Olympic jumpsuit soaring towards a rim. Since they couldn’t use that image, they decided to recreate that moment on a studio set with Jordan wearing his Bulls colors. One of the pictures captured was Jordan doing a ballet move not a dunk. That graceful picture was not only worth a thousand words but eventually billions of dollars.
When it was time for MJ to step onto the a NBA court with his new sneakers, the NBA wasn’t a fan of the look and on October 18, the NBA banned the Air Jordan I from being worn because the sneaker’s color was too vibrant for shoe regulations. Jordan being Jordan even as a young Jordan, still wore the Air Jordan I’s and was fined $5, 000 a game for his actions.
The sneakers weren’t so popular with consumers either. The original Jordans were a hard sell at and ended up on clearance racks for as low as .
For the next few years, with the exception of his 2nd year where he was injured, Jordan amazed NBA fans as the most explosive offensive player in the league while Nike continued to try to improve the Jordan shoes which were still not selling.
Then in 1988, MJ’s contract with Nike was about to end and Rob Strasser, Nike’s VP, was in a power struggle with Nike CEO Phil Knight. Rob and Peter Moore, Nike’s head designer, were secretly hatching a plan to lure Jordan away from Nike to their new sneaker company called Van Grack. So Like Brian Dunkleman of the 1st season of American Idol, Peter would end up leaving the soon to be culture changer and Tinker Hatfield came in to not only fill Peter’s big shoes but to create the AJ3 shoes and make sure it was impressive enough to help keep Jordan at Nike.
Within weeks Tinker and Ron Dumas designed the AJ3. It’s now considered one of the most celebrated shoes in history with it’s luxurious tumbled leather wrapped in elephant print with the big red Jumpman logo on the tongue. It impressed everybody but more importantly it impressed Jordan. Tinker killed 3 giant birds at once. He helped Nike keep Jordan. He created one of the most famous shoes of all-time. He created a logo that’s more recognizable than the logo of the sport MJ plays in.
You would think anything else added to this story would be just gravy but Nike’s brilliant marketing team came up with one of the most brilliant ad campaigns ever featuring up and coming director Spike Lee’s character from She’s Gotta Have It – Mars Blackmon. The most memorable line in the ad was “Is it the Shoes?”
24 years and billions of dollars later the answer to that question is “It’s the logo”
Sources: 1987 Hoop Magazine, Wikipedia, DonIsDope
Tags: air jordans, jordan logo, jumpman, michael jordan, nike
About the Author
Astramskas, David aka Astramskiss bka VincentDa fka Expiredpineapples & RedApples is a "digital-marketing guy" living in Houston. Worked with the NBA, Sprite, 2K, cool people like LeBron, DWade and Robert Horry, a long list of not-so-cool people and few real s****ty people. Won editing awards, created websites that have been featured in mags like Sports Illustrated. Studied film & women at FSU during the golden age of hip-hop. Collects records, laserdiscs & sports memorabilia and has by far the longest bio on Ballislife.comhow much system storage mac how much technology should a child use when solution of ni2 and nh3 combine which entrepreneur and real estate promoter how to device unlock when design works where london bridge is located when solution is simple god is answering how many entrepreneurs have adhd which business degree is right for me where to go from teaching when science meets religion how startup investment works how much start up loan can i get who solution recipe for rehydration entrepreneur who is skeptical how system in human body teachers day why entrepreneurs are important whom company how much teaching assistants get paid in startup who ends up with who where was technology first invented how london bridge fell why business analytics how much startup capital for small business how much start up money for garage sale how long teaching certificate how much solution for bissell carpet cleaner why solution focused therapy is effective how business loans work what startup apps do i need how system call works in linux how far london to paris how entrepreneur helps society where is meg from design star how many start ups fail uk who project manager when solution is saturated how entrepreneur think how project iphone to tv where business transactions are recorded and categorized startup whom how much solution for vax carpet cleaner who's teaching whom