A sleek iconic silhouette, a never-ending steam of classic and new colour ways. Marked by greatness as the first model from the GOAT. They are lighter and more comfortable than Air Force One’s and more stylish on the street that any of the Air Max models. Recognised worldwide, rocking Jordan 1s will give you instant credibility as either a baller or just someone with impeccable taste. So hot they were banned by the NBA! All reasons why the Jordan 1 is not just the greatest model in the Jordan line but perhaps the greatest trainer of all time.
Why was the Air Jordan 1 the best ever? There are a variety of reasons why the Air Jordan is the best Jordan basketball shoe however, the main reason is that the shoe was banned by the NBA as it broke their 51% shoe rule. Read on to find out what the NBA did to Jordan and Nike for breaking this rule.
Why were Air Jordan 1’s banned by the NBA?
In 1985 Nike released the first ever Michael Jordan signature model and forever changed the game. The shoe was designed by Peter C Moore and based on the existing Nike Air Ship model. It was actually the Air Ship that was banned by the NBA for breaking the 51% rule, which stated all player “must wear shoes that not only matched their uniforms, but matched the shoes worn by their teammates.” Back then shoes had to be 51 percent white and in accordance with what the rest of the team was wearing. So, the NBA banned them and in a genius piece of marketing Nike and Jordan played up this ban to build up hype for their new collaboration, every time Jordan wore the shoes he was fined $5,000 by the league, every fine grew the controversy and exposure of the new shoes.
How many pairs of Air Jordan 1’s did Nike sell?
It is believed that Nike paid these fines for Jordan and that it was worth every penny as the Air Jordan 1 went on to sell between 3 to 4 million shoes in the first year of release and unleashed a monster that is still at the top of the sneaker game more than 33 years later.
Air Jordan 1 Buying Guide
If you want to get your hands on a pair of Air Jordan 1’s there are a few decisions you need to make. Such as which type, which colourway and how much you are willing to pay as some Air Jordan 1’s can cost more than a small car!
What’s the difference between High, Mid or Low Air Jordan 1’s:
Air Jordan 1 Low:
The Air Jordan 1 Low was released in 1985 alongside the high top version, very similar in appearance to a Nike Dunk Low until recently the low version was mainly ignored by sneakerheads, however recently a collaboration with Travis Scott and a slew of hyped colourways such as the UNC Carolina Blue or Orange and Black Shattered backboard-esque has led to somewhat of a Low revival.
Air Jordan 1 Mid:
The most common model of Air Jordan 1 is the mid. These are approximately 5.5 inches high. The Mid’s are not an original model and Jordan Brand only started producing the Mid’s in the early 2000’s. The Mid’s are never released in original colourways apart from one exception which was in the Old Love/New Love pack (released in 2006) as it included a Black toe version in mid along with a Yellow and Black Wu-tang looking version inspired by MJ’s love of motorsport.
Air Jordan 1 High:
The Air Jordan 1 High are retro models of the original Air Jordan 1 and stand approximately 6.5 inches high, this is approximately 1 inch taller than the mid model. They are released in both original colourways, a range of new colourways usually telling a story from MJs past and are where you will find the most hyped collaborations such as Virgil Abloh designed Off-White varients or Travis Scott ‘Catcus Jack’ models. The Jordan 1 Highs are usually very fast to sell out, so you need to be signing up for raffles or quick on the Nike SKNRS app to grab a pair. Failing that if money is no object you can always use a reselling site such as Stock X or GOAT.com be warned the prices for the most desirable Jordan 1 highs could make your eyes water.
How Jordan almost didn’t sign with Nike
During High school Michael Jordan was a self-proclaimed ‘adidas Nut’ and often wore there ‘Pro-Model’ basketball shoe. It was said that Jordan preferred the lower to the ground feel and over all look of the Adidas models.
Once Jordan went to College at North Carolina we had to wear Converse as the legendary coach Dean Smith had an arrangement with the American based shoe company.
As soon as he knew he was drafted Jordan wanted to sign with adidas, however the German giants were still reeling from the death of founder Adi Dassler in 1978 and let Jordan slip thought their fingers.
Converse thus thought they had the upper hand, Jordan had worn their trainers in college and they presented a plan to market Jordan alongside NBA legends Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Legend has it that Jordan practically had to be dragged to Portland to visit Nike, but the boys at Beaverton had a plan. Legendary Shoe Dog Sonny Vaccaro was convinced that Nike had to sign Jordan and persuaded Nike’s head of marketing Rob Strasser to offer Jordan $500,000 a year over 5 years. This dwarfed the offers from Converse and Adidas and must have felt like a massive gamble at the time. However it turned into the shrewdest deal in sneaker history, catapulting Nike into the domination position in sports footwear, creating an extremely profitable legacy for Michael Jordan and relegating the once dominant Converse to an afterthought, they had some small moments of glory in the following years but eventually were at such a low ebb that they were purchased by Nike in July 2003. How different sportwear history could have been if they had signed Jordan rather than Nike.