Michael Jordan was famous in the basketball world not only for his explosive game and consistent ability to win in the biggest moments, but also for his style as well. The greatest basketball player of all time was subject to several league mandated fines because of the trainers he was wearing, for Jordan though, establishing his brand both on and off the court was worth any fine the league could throw at him, and he quite specifically, changed the sneaker game forever.
Nike Air Ships – worn by Jordan in his early NBA Games
What trainers did Michael Jordan wear? Michael Jordan wore Nike Air Jordans, which were designed by Nike in collaboration with the GOAT himself. They fused style and performance at a time when that wasn’t commonplace. The Air Jordan 1 was designed specifically for Michael Jordan in his Rookie year and since then the brand has managed to gain massive popularity all over the world. Jordan made his NBA debut wearing custom Nike Air Ship’s as the Air Jordan 1’s were not ready. He first wore Air Jordan 1’s in a game on November 17th, 1984 versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
Nike Air Jordan 1’s – Chicago colourway
The main focus of Jordan Brand in 2022 is high-quality, premium basketball shoes and clothes. This has all stemmed from the iconic shoes that MJ wore throughout his distinguished playing career. In the following article we will have a look at the kicks that were worn by Jordan back in his glory days.
Air Jordan 1’s – 1984 to 1986
The most iconic of Jordan’s shoes was the Air Jordan 1. Designed in two controversial colourways, Chicago for home games and the Bred for road games. Jordan had been unsure about signing a contract with then up and coming brand Nike, stating some concerns over their design and performance. Nike took on the challenge and by the time the Air Jordan 1 was ready to hit NBA courts part way through Jordan’s rookie season, the hype was real. The NBA banned them citing performance advantage concerns. Jordan racked up a $5,000 fine every time he laced them up. The bill was covered by Nike, presumably written off as an advertising expense. The rest, as they say, is history.
Air Jordan 2’s – 1986 to 1987
Jordan finished up his rookie and sophomore seasons playing in the, by then ICONIC, Air Jordan 1’s. From the start of the 1986-87 season Jordan wore his updated Air Jordan 2’s for NBA matches. They proved as big a hit as the previous iteration and sales boomed as Jordan’s star rose in the league. This was Jordan’s 3rd season and he was already a massive star – being named to the Allstar Game the previous year, despite playing only 18 games due to injury.
He would wear these shoes for only 1 season before the Air Jordan 3’s made their debut.
Following the massive success of the first 3 versions of the Jordan, new designs would be released each year. Multiple colourways would appear and the world of Air Jordan would gain a cult following that persists to this day. Below we look at some of the most iconic examples of this trend setting shoe.
Jordan and Spike Lee featured in a commercial for the Nike Air Jordan 3
Air Jordan Carolina
This colorway was dedicated to Michael Jordan’s home school – it was thanks to the University of North Carolina that Michael became a great player. The model repeats the colors of the game uniform of the university basketball team.
Air Jordan Laney
Michael did not forget about his school either. This model is painted in the colors of the Emsley Laney School, with which Michael won junior championships.
Air Jordan SB
The model is made in a very interesting way – two sneakers are painted in different colors, one is red, the other is blue, but both are covered with white paint. As it wears out, the white paint is erased and the color appears. This happens faster when riding a skateboard. Some sneakerheads, having bought a model, specially wiped their sneakers to achieve the desired effect.
On August 25, 1985, Michael Jordan was invited to an exhibition match in Trieste. The main moment of the match was a dunk by Michael Jordan, after which the ring simply crumbled into pieces, and the match was stopped. To commemorate this match, the shoes were made in red and red, reminiscent of the kit that Michael wore in that match.
Air Jordan KO
This model pays homage to Michael’s “boxing” talents – he was so good at cornering opponents and then destroying them that he was sometimes compared to a professional boxer. This is where the idea for KO came from. This abbreviation means “knockout”. he model was first released in 1985, and then reissued twice (2010 and 2014).
Air Jordan Alpha
The main feature of these sneakers was the Zoom balloon, placed along the entire length of the sole, which perfectly provided cushioning and protection of the foot from injuries.
Simply the most lordly model among the first number from Michael. Here you have gold, premium leather, and handmade. In general, a model for those who like more expensive and richer.
Hiroshi Fujiwara and his design studio Fragment design worked on the model and decided to replace the red color with its opposite – blue, which looks just fine. Sneakers were sold in a pop-up shop in New York, and of course they sold out in just a few hours.
The colorway reminds us of how Michael was fined by the league for “wrong” shoes. Instead of the classic jumpman logo, crosses are located on the heels, as if overlapping the Jordan Brand logo.
Old Love New Love Pack
One of the most interesting packs from Michael – in it he remembers his old love and shows a new one that completely absorbed him. An old love is basketball, and the model dedicated to basketball is made in a classic red and black combination. After completion, Michael began to buy many covered bikes for his collection. Michael’s favorite motorcycle is painted yellow, so the pair was made in yellow colors.
Sneakers Sold at $1.47 Million
The impact of Jordan and his sneakers can be seen vividly, when back in October, 2021 when a pair of sneakers that Nike produced specifically for him in 1984 for his participation in the regular season of the NBA were sold at Sotheby’s in Las Vegas for a record $1.47 million.
Representatives of the auction house said that in the pre-season and first games, Jordan wore white and red, as well as black and red (now known as Bred), which Nike developed specifically for him. The basketball player played in this shoe for the first time only in the fifth game of the 1984 NBA championship and immediately received a warning from the league leadership.
In response to this ban, Nike launched an ad campaign for the shoe with the slogan “The NBA has taken them out of the game, luckily the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.”
Michael Jordan continued to play in these shoes, and every time he entered the field in them he was fined several thousand dollars. Later, this collaboration between a famous athlete and a large company was called Air Jordan. Sneakers under this brand have become one of the most popular in the world, they are hunted by fashionistas from different countries.
Previously, Jordan’s sneakers, released in 1996 before the premiere of the movie Space Jam, in which the athlete starred, were sold at Sotheby’s auction. The sneakers were made especially for Jordan, but he never wore them.