Michael Jordan, Clear for Take Off.
1984 third overall draft pick for the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan signed a five-year endorsement deal with Nike. This was a risk for Nike who was investing in a rookie, but soon Jordan would prove himself to be a valuable asset to both the Chicago Bulls, and to Nike.
The first pair of Air Jordan's were designed for their name sake, Michael Jordan who was nicknamed that for his ability to dunk. Jordan wore them on the court in early 1984. The NBA actually fined Jordan $5,000 per game because the sneakers did "not meet the league's stringent policy on uniforms and colors." Nike, seeing what a good opportunity this was, happily paid the $5,000 per game fine.
In late 1984, the original Air Jordan sneakers were available to the public for $65 and not only an international empire, but a culture was truly born.
A Brief History of the Sneaker.
Sneakers have been an important addition to the American wardrobe since their inception (sneakers as we know them) in the early 1900s.
Popular brands such as Converse and Nike have used brand ambassadors to promote their sneakers since 1917 when Converse named a style of sneaker after Basketball player Chuck Taylor. Although now simply known as Chucks, the style is one of the most recognizable sneakers in the world and it still a staple of any closet.
After WWI, the popularity of sneakers were starting to increase even more so and "Countries encouraged their citizens to exercise not just for physical perfection, but also to prepare for the next war."
And to everyone's unfortunate anticipation, a next war did in fact arrive. WWII brought with it a ration on rubber and US consumers only got three shoe coupons a year. There were, of course, as there often are, creative solutions to this problem such as manufacturers making shoes out of non-rationed materials, and the introduction of second hand shoe stores.
Flashing forward to the 1970s, sneakers were not just a staple for the athletic community, but we start to see, sneakers start to become a status symbol not only used for specific activities, but as a must have for every outfit, event, occasion and in every color.
Buy, Sell, Collect!
For our die hard sneaker lovers out there, it is very much possible that you have your brand, and when you are out looking for styles you don't have yet, some people are willing to pay anything. Air Jordan's come in 34 different styles from the main line (there are various branch off lines), and like any collector, there's a Pokemon inspired feeling of "gotta catch them all!"
Remember the Air Jordan 1's we talked about earlier and how when they were released for public purchase they were only $65? Well, as of July 20,2020 they are trending for anywhere between $175 to $400!