1985. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, Back to the Future was the highest grossing film of the year, the Los Angeles Lakers were NBA champions, and Nike released the sneaker that would promote their logo on a global scale – the Nike Air Jordan I. Oh yeah, I was born that year by the way, in case you wondered. Very few material things can lay claim to being “the one that started it all”. As we all know, being the first to do many things was merely a typical day at work for his Airness, Michael Jordan.
It’s pretty funny that upon being introduced to his very own first pair of signature sneakers designed by Peter Moore, Michael Jordan refused to sport them. He protested, “I’ll look like a clown”. However, Nike convinced him to embrace them and do his thing on the court. David Stern on the other hand, was not all too pleased.
Given the NBA’s rule back in the day that prohibited players from wearing shoes of multiple colors, the Commissioner actually banned the Air Jordan I. Already having broken the rules of gravity, Michael broke the league’s sneaker restriction at the expense of Nike, which they had absolutely no qualms with. Phil Knight and his company actually encouraged MJ to go hard against the grain, telling him that they’d cover the $5000 per game fine he would incur every time he wore his kicks, an ingenious marketing tactic.
Perhaps Nike and Michael should thank David Stern because all that the ban did was, give the sneakers a platform to gain historical notoriety. They are not hard on the eyes at all either. The Jordan wings logo is stamped on the collar of the simple leather upper. The single stitched midsole sits atop a thin rubber outsole and classic Nike swoosh logo rests on the medial side panel, the only instance we have ever seen the logo as such on a pair of Air Jordans. The first pair of the shoes also came with two sets of laces, one red and one black, to offer wearers a bit of choice in how they wanted to rock the kicks.
The original Air Jordan I, released in 23 colorways, was re-released in 1994 to unexpectedly low demand. However in 2001, the Jordan I Retro was met with far greater exuberance. The Retro version, still available for sale, comes fully stocked with upgrades – an Air Max bag in the heel, a Zoom air bag in the forefoot, a full-length Phylon midsole, and a herringbone pattern outsole for maximum grip and traction.
Bottom line, the Jordan I Retro is not a bad buy at all. You can rock the old school style and hang with the modern kicks on the hardwood. If you can get your hands on a pair of the originals, even better!
Check out the sick old school commercial with Michael showing you just how high he can fly!
[Original Release: 1985; Players: Michael Jordan; Celebs: Drake; Retail: $125]
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