Maybe we should ultimately thank NBA commissioner David Stern for the Air Jordan signature sneaker series’ rise to power. On September 15th, 1985, Nike unleashed the first installment of the Air Jordan series in the form of the Air Jordan I, Michael Jordan’s first signature sneaker. Although it would not receive an abundance of preliminary attention, an act from the NBA would later propel this signature line into the biggest and most recognizable sneaker series ever created.
It was on this day, in sneaker history, (October 18th, 1985) that NBA commissioner David Stern officially banned Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan I from the NBA courts for failure to meet the on-court dress code. Stern declared that MJ’s shoes did not properly match the Chicago Bulls jerseys. Prior to this memorable act, David Stern fined Michael Jordan $5,000 every time he stepped on the court in the Air Jordan I. In a gutsy move, Nike willingly paid MJ’s fine every game, as the shoe company discovered the potential of excessive notoriety and hoopla with this act.
Ironically, after the Air Jordan I was banned from the NBA courts, sales for this sneaker skyrocketed. Nike lost a ton of money by paying MJ’s fines; however, they gained a limitless amount of publicity that transferred into the biggest signature line to date. One of Nike’s first commercials for this sneaker showed MJ wearing the Air Jordan 1s and stated a simple message: On October 18th, the NBA through them out of the game (referring to the shoes). Fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.
What are your thoughts on how the Air Jordan 1 banning played out?
Also, in attempt highlight this classic sneaker history, Jordan Brand will soon release a variation of MJ’s first signature sneaker dubbed the Air Jordan 1 “Banned” (photos below), a comical play on NBA commissioner David Stern?s attempt to ban Michael Jordan?s first signature sneaker.