Michael Jordan once said, "It's not about sneakers, it's about what you do in them."
Over the past several years, sneaker culture has been heavily transformed. The fact that shoes have become a phenomenon in the 2000s is all credited to the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jeffery Jordan. When you think of basketball, who do you think of? Personally, Michael Jordan comes to mind immediately. Jordan influenced many things about today's culture, including his basketball mastermind and creativity that led to the "Air Jordan" brand.
In 1984, Michael Jordan signed his brand deal with Nike.
The endorsement deal was approximately five hundred thousand dollars a year for five years. According to Insider magazine, "It is the richest athlete endorsement deal ever but also arguably the biggest bargain given that Jordan helped transform Nike from a scrappy underdog into one of the largest, most valuable consumer brands in the world." Over the past 40 years, Michael Jordan has made 1.4 billion dollars solely on his Air Jordan brand and partnership with Nike. Michael Jordan's most iconic sneaker was the original "Air -Jordan 1." The design consisted of different shades of red and black and was a midrise high-top sneaker. Even though these shoes were the craze in the eighties, they were originally banned in the NBA because they featured "no-regulation" colors. To say the least, Michael Jordan did not seem to care about these rules, and his shoe business is now seen as something legendary. Now, these shoes are the new craze. It's like no one knew they existed thirty years ago.
The Jordan shoe brand has evolved tremendously throughout the past forty years.
Michael Jordan's first-ever shoe launched in 1985, and Nike projected $3 million in sales of the first Air Jordan in the first four years of the deal but ended up making over 126 million dollars in sales in just the first year alone. However, Michael Jordan's shoe brand would not be anything without a creative mastermind - Tinker Hatfield. Hatfield was hired on Nike's design team in the late seventies and soon became one of Nike's head shoe designers. Tinker created a trend with his sneakers by creating things that were so different, for he used architecture around the globe as well as shapes, patterns, textures, and colors to influence his shoe designs. People just couldn't get enough of it, considering that all of Hatfield's work is still praised among sneaker-heads across the world. Hatfield was the only one who truly mastered the art of designing sneakers and was able to construct every single idea Jordan had. The designs and concepts he would come up with were so intriguing to athletes and other Nike customers. Hatfield stated in the "Abstract: The Art of Design" documentary, "A basic design is always functional, but a great one will say something."
Apart from Michael Jordan's iconic brand, he influenced the entire game of basketball if you didn't know already. Many athletes described Jordan as swift, powerful, and graceful on the court. Everyone starts from nothing. Apart from being born in Brooklyn, New York, Michael attended Laney High School in Wilmington North Carolina where he grew up. Jordan began to idolize his older brother, Larry, who was a very talented athlete, and this drew Michael to begin his basketball career. Surprisingly, he did not make his basketball team as a five-eleven sophomore, but this was only motivation to Jordan. Over the summer of his junior year, he grew not just in size but in talent. This was only the beginning of his mega-stardom. Jordan attended the University of North Carolina, and only as a freshman, he shined directly in the spotlight in the NCAA championship against Georgetown. He ended up scoring over 18 points, 9 rebounds, and made the championship-winning basket. As Jordan's college career heightened, he got placed in the 1984 NBA draft and was the third overall pick. Almost nothing got in Jordan's head. Some of his teammates would say, "Don't piss Michael off, he will go crazy on the court." He blasted the court as a rookie, blowing everyone on the court away with his speed and agility. During his first season with the Chicago Bulls, his greatness was scouted and admired. Jordan holds an astonishing number of prestigious awards, including five-time NBA MVP, six-time NBA champion, and six-time NBA Finals MVP. Jordan finished his basketball career with the highest scoring average of 30.01 p.p.g. Jordan moved on and ended up becoming one of the most admirable athletes of all time.
Jordan began a new wave of thinking across the world.
His partnership with Nike changed the athlete's perspective on merchandising with different brands. His success with Nike transformed their company to become the most popular athletic brand in the world. Jordan reshaped the substance of basketball and the content behind academic achievement. In our society today, we continuously see his influence in the smallest ways, like small kids sticking out their tongue (just like he did during games), the popularity of his Air Jordan brand, and basketball as a whole. Michael Jordan became an icon and inspiration to any athlete across the nation. There almost has never been someone that carried a team as well as Jordan did. Looking through the history of the NBA, athletes continue to pass their legacy down to the next generation of teammates. Overall, Michael Jordan set a perfect example for those who wanted to be successful. Jordan exemplified the true characteristics of a great athlete - he had supreme concentration, confidence, commitment to excellence, discipline, and most importantly, he never stopped setting goals for himself.