It is November 19, 1984. The atmosphere in the stadium is electric and tangible as the basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and the Philadelphia 76ers begins. The pounding of the ball on the court is only matched by the repeated squeak of the rubber-soled shoes of the players. All at once, the Chicago Bulls new rookie player, Michael Jordan, breaks from the pack, ball at hand. He crosses the court and as he approaches the hoop, he leaps into the air with a move he would later become nicknamed after. There is a flash of red and black as he leaves the ground, soaring toward the hoop. And he scores!
It is not the game itself that put this date down in the history books but rather that this was the inaugural introduction of the Air Jordan I.
The Jordan I changed sports footwear forever and began what would become a multi-million dollar corporation. Designed by Peter Moore, the Air Jordan I radically changed basketball shoe design when it incorporated a see through heel. The vibrant red and black color way was highly controversial because the current basketball rules had all team members required to wear standard basketball footwear. Michael Jordan was fined $5000 every time he wore the new shoes during a game. This only served to excite the public’s appetite more and when the Jordan’s were release for public sale in 1985, they sold out almost immediately.
Air Jordan 1 saw a huge social shift in how people viewed footwear and basketball. No longer were sports shoes such as basketball shoes confined to the basketball court but rather became iconic style apparel. Every boy and every man wanted them and they are reputed as being responsible for the rising number of grooms who demanded they be allowed to wear their basketball shoes with their tuxedo. It was not only society that fell to the Air Jordan seduction but Nike was thrust from sport shoes manufacturer to lifestyle brand almost overnight.
Twenty-five years later and we see the release of the Jordan 2010 line. This remarkable success story has shifted homes from Nike to Brand Jordan but it has not shifted any of its popularity. It seems Peter Moore discovered the magic ingredient needed to guarantee consistent sales and whatever that special something is, the Air Jordan still has it in spades.