Michael Jordan – Nike’s New HopeThe history of the Air Jordans begins in 1984, during a time when Nike was a struggling shoe company. At that time, Nike was known as a running shoe company and their running shoe phenomenon was slowly dying. Looking for a way to reinvent themselves and appeal to a new segment of the market, Nike turned to an NBA rookie named Michael Jordan. Michael was already endorsing several other products, but Nike felt that Michael could help them turn things around. Michael Jordan was hoping to sign with Adidas or Converse since he always loved Adidas and Converse were the shoes that he wore as a basketball player in North Carolina. Converse was not interested since they already had endorsement deals with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson . Adidas was not interested either. Nike’s offer did not really interest Michael Jordan, but his agent at the time, David Falk, saw a great opportunity with Nike since Nike was offering to create a brand new line of shoes called Air Jordans.
Michael Is Not Interested in NikeMichael was still not convinced that he wanted to sign with Nike. Perhaps he was still feeling a strong allegiance to Converse and Adidas. Nike, on the other hand was convinced that they wanted Michael as their spokesperson. He was young, an Olympic champion, had charisma and a tremendous personality. Nike also knew that he would be a superstar in the NBA. After being convinced by his parents and his agent, Michael agreed to fly to the Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon to view a special video presentation and proposal. Michael would later agree that he went with no intention of signing a contract with Nike.
Let’s Make The DealNikes video presentation featured slow-motion clips of highlights form Jordan’s college career and some of his high-flying Olympic moves while the Pointer Sister’s hit song “Jump” played in the background. Nike’s Head Designer, Peter Moore presented sketches of the Air Jordan I sneakers, jumpsuits, and other sports apparel, all in black and red. Michael wasn’t very thrilled with the designs that he saw. In fact, he is reported to have said: “I can’t wear that shoe, those are Devil colors”. Although Michael seemed disinterested with Nike’s presentation, he would later tell his agent David Falk “Let’s make the deal.”
Introduction of the Air Jordan INike signed Michael Jordan to a 5-year deal worth US$2.5 million, plus royalties and other benefits. Peter Moore created the first Air Jordan logo, known as the Wings logo and the rest is history. The arrival of the Air Jordan I changed the athletic shoe industry forever. Before the Air Jordan I , most basketball shoes were white, but the bold black and red styling of the Jordan I changed that convention. The NBA banned the shoe from the league in response, but Jordan wore them anyway, racking up serious fines of up to $5000 a game. Nike, of course, was more than happy to pay these to keep the shoes on Jordan’s feet and in the public eye. All this controversy and Jordan’s spectacular numbers that year served to put the Air Jordan line on the road to becoming a household name.
Turning Point For Air Jordan SneakersThe year is 1987. The Air Jordan I had been a huge success in terms of sales, but the Air Jordan II was not as successful due to its high price tag. Peter Moore and Rob Strasser, the designers of both Air Jordan shoes had left Nike to start their own sneaker company called Van Grack. They were hoping to steal Michael Jordan away from Nike and build their new company around him. Michael was ready to leave Nike. Nike turned to Tinker Hatfield to save the company. The first thing that Tinker did was sit down with Michael to gather his input about the design of the Air Jordan III. Asking an athlete for their input in the design of a shoe was unheard of. However, the reason why Michael stayed with Nike was due to the good advice that he received from his father. He reportedly told his son to stay with the people that had done a good job for him.
Introduction of the Air Jordan IIIThe fact that he had a say in the design of the shoe and its matching apparel was the reason why Michael Jordan decided to stay with Nike. At Jordan’s request, the Air Jordan III was a three-quarter cut basketball shoe made of high quality, lighter than average materials. This non-standard approach to the process of designing basketball shoes led the Air Jordan III to become one of the most popular shoes of all-time. In many sports polls, the Air Jordan III is consistently ranked as the best sneaker of all-time. With the success of the Air Jordan III, Tinker Hatfield would go on to design all other Air Jordan models up to the Air Jordan XV. With the release of the Air Jordan XV and Jordan’s second retirement, both Tinker Hatfield and Michael Jordan stepped back from the Air Jordan line and other designers took over to continue the legacy.
Jordan Brand is CreatedAir Jordan Shoes have always been part of the Nike family. But in late 1997, Nike decided that the Jordan brand was so strong that it should become a sub-brand of Nike. This new sub-brand of Nike became The Jordan Brand. To celebrate this event, the first Air Jordan from the Jordan Brand was released: The Air Jordan XIII. Along with the Air Jordan XIII Team Air Jordan shoes and Air Jordan Trainers were also released. Shoe from the Jordan Brand do not contain any Nike logos and use the Jumpman symbol as their logo.
Air Jordans LegacyJordan brand is a household name and people of all ages and social status line up eagerly for the release of the latest Air Jordan model. Some of this success can be attributed to the fact that the shoes, from the Jordan III to the most recent model, have always been about Michael Jordan. The designers take his ideas, hobbies, and life into account and incorporate these feelings into the shoes. A number of Jordans have been designed after Jordan’s cars and some of the more recent models. The Air Jordan line continues its tradition of quality, high-fashion basketball and athletic shoes that appeal to the masses.
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