Chapter 15: the Air Jordan I and other Jordan trademarks
What made Michael Jordan special was not his acrobatic dunks and prolific scoring. Many players were great dunkers (Dominique Wilkins) and many players could score more (Kareem Abdul Jabbar). What really set Michael apart from the rest of the league were a few things that later became his trademark.
1. The wagging tongue
The tongue is a habit Jordan picked up from his father James, who would stick out his tongue while working on the car engine. You know Jordan is really on his game when the tongue is hanging out on one of his drives to the hoop.
2. Baggy shorts
Jordan is credited by many players for popularizing the wearing of baggy shorts. I think it had a more practical than stylish reason. Jordan had a superstition and wore his UNC basketball shorts underneath his normal basketball shorts for EVERY game. So the bagginess of his shorts could have been a way of covering up his superstition.
3. Bald head
Back in the 80’s it had not been popular for players to have shaved heads. But Michael would change that, like he changed so many other aspects of the game.
4. Air Jordans
But Jordan’s most famous trademark, and the one that has been adopted by millions of kids around the world, is the Air Jordan basketball shoes.
Here is the Air Jordan I. The shoe he wore for the 84-85 and the 85-86 season. Nike signed Jordan to a shoe deal even before his first preseason game, and it was an investment they would reap in the coming years.
This shoe spawned a now famous series of commercials, starting with this one.
Here are two other commercials for the black and red version
This version of the shoe was considered in violation of the “uniformity of uniform rule” and Jordan would be fined if he kept wearing them. He still wore them occasionally, hyping up demand for them to unprecedented heights.
To this date, there have been 25 versions of Air Jordans. The latest one is the 2010.
It’s good to know that Michael takes an active interest in the design and production of these shoes. Each one is something Jordan would have worn if he were still playing today.
Here’s what Michael has to say about the Air Jordan line.
Here is the design process for the new Air Jordan 2010.