Today, February 17th in 1963, one of the most important figures in all of sports was born. Michael Jordan was not only one of, if not, the best basketball player to ever play the game, but to us and sneaker enthusiasts around the world, he changed lives. If it wasn’t for Michael Jordan, there may never have been the community and culture of sneakers that we all know and love today.
From his time spent playing for the University of North Carolina through his six World Championships with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan accomplished unbelievable feats on the basketball court. MJ however, did it differently than others who may have accomplished similar things, he did it in a style, with a swagger, that left anyone who saw with photographic images of his play. It was this picturesque ability that inspired one of the greatest sneaker lines in history, the Air Jordan series.
Jordan 1 Original Wings logo uploaded by we did it in style**
Beginning with the Air Jordan in 1985, Nike created a unique shoe specifically for Michael Jordan. The Original Air Jordan shoe began the Jordan series with a unique design that featured the “Wings” logo on the ankle. The Black and Red colorway caught the attention of fans, as well as the NBA, as they fined Michael Jordan $5,000 per game for wearing the shoes due to the fact they did not fit with the league’s dress code. Little did anyone know back then, it was only the beginning of the attention Michael “Air” Jordan’s shoes would receive.
Michael Jordan’s influence on sneakers would continued with the signature shoes that would follow. Whether he was posterizing defenders, or throwing down one of his unbelievable dunks that would later be posterized, Jordan and his shoes became the focus of the world. After winning his first Slam Dunk Contest in the Italian made Air Jordan 2, Michael followed up with a second Slam Dunk Contest victory wearing the White and Cement colorway of the Air Jordan 3. Through the years Michael would rack up a list of accomplishments like no other. 6 Championships, 5 MVP Awards, 14 All-Star Game Appearances, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Slam Dunk Contest titles are just a few of the things that made MJ become legendary. Moments like these, and seeing Michael Jordan seemingly fly through the air, led to the culture, community, and collectible nature of sneakers that we all know and love today.
Air Jordan 11 Black-Red uploaded by we did it in style**
Though no one could say for sure, it’s safe to say that without Michael Jordan, there may not be the sneaker craze that we have today. It’s with that in mind that we wish Michael “Air” Jordan a happy birthday on this, his 49th birthday.
Check out a few of the original Jordan shoes below from the wiki, and some of the highlights that made him, what many would call, the greatest of all time.
Jordan 3 Original uploaded by PabloJordan
Jordan 4 uploaded by Josh Cole aka wideangle