The Air Jordan 1, known simply as the Nike Air Jordan when it originally released, first hit stores in 1985 kicking off the greatest legacy in sneakers and forever changing the business of footwear.
With the third pick in the first round of the 1984 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Michael Jordan who would later become known as the greatest to ever play the game. Before landing in the NBA, Michael Jordan had a resume of accomplishments that no one had ever accomplished. While at the University of North Carolina, Michael Jordan led the Tarheels to an NCAA Championship and helped Team USA achieve Gold in the 1984 Olympic Games.
While MJ was a lock for an early selection in the NBA Draft following his career at UNC, what shoes he would wear in the NBA was not a sure thing. Jordan played in Converse while at North Carolina and Adidas while on Team USA in the Olympics and even New Balance in a LIFE magazine photoshoot, but Nike had something to offer unlike any other brand.
Sonny Vaccaro worked with Nike and convinced them to create a Jordan line named after the signature player that was a level above any signature shoe had ever been done. Michael Jordan liked the concept and inked with the then only 12 year old Oregon based brand.
While Michael Jordan would wear the Air Jordan 1 in his rookie season, he did start out his NBA career in the Nike Air Ships before donning his first signature shoe.
Much attention was brought to Jordan’s feet when the NBA began fining Michael $5, 000 a game for wearing shoes that did not fit within the NBA’s uniform policy. At the time, shoes had to match the rest of the team with a white base and predominant team color accents or black with white accents. Michael’s black and red shoes were banned by the NBA sparking inspiration for a commercial used by Nike to promote the Air Jordan 1.