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If you’re a male ten or older, you’ve probably been asked the question by a member of the opposite sex, “What do you think of my shoes?” Whether you heard it from your mother, sister, cousin, girlfriend, wife, teacher, co-worker, or even grandmother, chances are you’ll remain indifferent and just don’t want to answer. a way that would get you in trouble.
Now that we can agree with that, it’s safe to assume that if you’ve heard of a brand called Nikeyou probably have some knowledge of their affiliation with the name Jordan.
Michael Jordan is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player to ever step foot on the court, but it’s on the hardwood that he continues to build his legacy.
Jordan signed several sponsorship deals after being drafted in 1984 with the third overall pick by the Chicago Bulls.
Back then, Nike wasn’t the conglomerate it is today, but rather a struggling shoe company trying to find its footing against brands like Adidas and Converse.
Converse already had stars like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson wearing their sneakers, so they were unwilling to compete with Nike in a bidding war for Jordan’s services.
Nike was a slowly disappearing company, which required them to commit to an athlete, in hopes that their image would be reinvented and make them relevant in the mainstream market.
At first, Michael was selfless.
Nike presented him with the black and red colorway, some staple shoe designs, and apparel designs, only to hear: “I can’t wear this shoe, it’s the colors of the Devil.”
But the rest is truly history.
Nike originally signed Jordan to a 5-year contract worth $2.5 million, only to see him continue and make the two parties two of the most recognizable names in the world.
In honor of every championship he’s won, here’s a look at the brand he’s built and the source of his ‘Air’.
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Jordan suffered a broken foot in his second season that forced him to miss 64 regular season games.
The 1986-87 season saw a new and improved GM.
Upon returning, Jordan donned the Air Jordan II.
This sneaker was designed by Bruce Kilgore and set new luxury standards for basketball footwear.
These trainers were made in Italy and featured a Swoosh-less look, accompanied by a faux lizard print to state its stylish appearance.
Interestingly, the Jordan II was the only Air Jordan model that didn’t have a black version.
The league was warned as Jordan averaged 37.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.5 blocks.
For those who argue that much of Jordan’s score was inflated due to an obscene number of free throw attempts, we can just subtract the 10.2 marks he averages per game (in 11, 9 attempts) of his score total, which would put him at an average of 26.9, respectively.
To put that number into perspective, if Jordan averaged 26.9 points last year, he would only rank behind Kevin Durant’s 27.7 average as the league’s top scorer.WITHOUT FIRING A SINGLE FREE THROW!
What the sneakers said:
“If we both go up, you land first.” Because of Jordan’s first Slam Dunk Championship and his unparalleled ability to block shots (for guards).
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This sneaker was released in February 1990 and is rumored to be inspired by the Mustang P-51a World War II fighter plane.
If this rumor is true, it certainly explains the mentality of the man the sneakers were designed for.
New attributes included a clear, transparent rubber sole that tended to yellow with age. Lace-up locks and sharktooth shapes lined the edge of the sneaker for added flair; however, the most distinct feature of the Vs was the reflective silver tab.
Having the soul of three fighters, Jordan led the Bulls to a 55-27 record, while posting averages of 33.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.8 steals during the regular season; however, his Bulls lost to the Detroit Pistons for the third straight year in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The 1989–90 season marked the fourth straight year that Jordan led the league in scoring.
What the sneakers said:
“Rising.” Regarding Jordan’s high-flying acts and the development of Chicago’s young core group of players (Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant).
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The 1987-88 season saw Jordan put together one of the greatest defensive campaigns of all time, while doing so in the most luxurious sneakers the world had ever seen.
Designed by Tinker Hatfield himself, the Jordan III featured the “NIKE AIR” moniker on the heels, only to be replaced by the now famous Jumpman logo.
Performance and visual upgrades to the sneaker included a visible air sole and faux elephant print known as “cement.”
Averaging 35 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.6 blocks, Jordan was also able to pick up Defensive Player of the Year honors.
The season in which MJ began setting new standards for greatness also coincided with the addition of Spike Lee to Nike’s marketing campaign.
After starring as Mars Blackmon in the movie ‘She’s Gotta Have It’, Spike dubbed the role in Nike commercials, where his only job was to find Jordan’s source.”Aerial ». And of course, time and time again, Mars might just conclude, “Must be the shoes!”
Jordan also did this in the 1988 Dunk Contest.
What the sneakers said:
“I am here to stay.” Regarding Jordan’s consistency and commitment to Nike. This sneaker model is credited with MJ’s decision to stay with the company that raised him.
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Probably the most stylish and complex sneaker in the Air Jordan collection offers two different looks for its wearer.
The XVI was the first sneaker since the II to be designed by someone other than Tinker Hatfield.
As Jordan retired for the second time and led the Washington Wizards as president of basketball operations and co-owner, Wilson Smith, senior Nike shoe designer, designed the XVI as part of Michael’s transition. from player to manager.
Smith incorporated a removable gaiter as a way to give a more professional look and as a way to control the temperature.
It was during the summer of 2001 that Jordan seemed interested in making another return to basketball. Inspired by the return of NHL star and friend Mario Lemieux, Jordan began to condition himself and even hired his former Chicago Bulls head coach Doug Collins to coach the Wizards.
Jordan made his return to basketball official on September 25, 2001, indicating that he intended to donate his playing salary to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Although Jordan’s season in a Wizards uniform was limited to 60 games due to a cartilage tear in his right knee, he had shown flashes of his bright personality, while wearing a sneaker that was inspired by his past.
The transparent rubber sole of the XVI recalls that of the Jordan III, V and VI, while patent leather was the hallmark of the Jordan XI.
What the sneaker said:
“Always fly.” Even after returning from his second retirement at age 38, Jordan was able to lead the Wizards in points (22.9), assists (5.2) and steals (1.42) per game. .
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The biggest thing Nike ever did for itself was to sign Michael Jordan. Fingers in the nose. No doubt about it.
Take a look at the new “Kobe System” marketing campaign.
As impressive and impactful as it is, it might never have come to fruition if not for Jordan’s ability to transcend the Nike brand.
And it all started with the original “Air Jordan”.
When Jordan released this shoe in 1984, the black/red colorway violated the NBA dress code. Although Jordan was fined $5,000 each time he violated this code, Nike was happy to pay the tab due to the large amount of publicity and controversy the sneakers generated.
During his rookie season, Jordan recorded stellar numbers of 28.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.4 steals while shooting 51.5 percent from the field.
Even in his freshman year, fans voted Jordan into the All Star Game as a starter, which led to even more controversy.
Before the mid-season exhibition game, it was rumored that several veteran players like Isiah Thomas had united and decided to “freeze” Jordan out of the game by refusing to pass the ball to him.
Jordan seemed largely unaffected by the decision and won Rookie of the Year honors.
The Bulls would lose in the first round of the playoffs in four games to the Milwaukee Bucks; however, Jordan’s potential and legacy would only be fully recognized in the future.
What the sneakers said:
“Look out, Michael is here.” Due to an unprecedented rookie season campaign.
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Voted the best sneaker of all time by Sole Collector Magazine, the Jordan XI represented the pinnacle of success in multiple ways for MJ.
In 1993, a day before the start of training camp; Jordan shocked the world and announced his retirement from the NBA to pursue a career in Major League Baseball.
While Jordan was with the Chicago White Sox organization, Tinker Hatfield designed the XI in hopes that Michael would wear them if he ever returned.
And we all know he did.
Jordan returned to play the final 17 games of the 1995 season, leading a struggling Bulls team to the Eastern Conference Semifinals – where they lost in 6 games to a team led by the Shaq Orlando Magic.
Against the wishes of Hatfield and Nike, Jordan wore a “sampled” version of the XI in the playoffs.
In the first full year of his comeback, Jordan posted averages of 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.2 steals, while sporting number 45 and XI.
The Bulls won their fourth Jordan-era championship; however, Michael has proven to boost his popularity in more ways than one.
The Jordan XI was the star sneaker in the 1996 animated movie “Space Jam.” The movie grossed over $230 million worldwide, which forced Nike to re-release the model in a royal blue colorway that’s now simply known as “Space Jams”.
These sneakers represent Nike’s ambition to combine performance and style. By using a nylon condura material and a carbon fiber plate on the sole of the shoe, Hatfield was able to increase its lightweight durability.
The transparent outsole provided torsional rigidity, while the patent leather took the visual aspects to a whole new level.
It took over a decade for Nike to design, but in my opinion, there will never be another sneaker that will match the XI in terms of style, performance, heritage and cultural influence.
What the sneaker said:
“Only the best, for the best.” Needs no explanation.