Following the success of the Air Jordan 1, there was much anticipation for its successor. Nike again tapped Peter C. Moore for design along with Bruce Kilgore, who designed the highly successful Nike Air Force 1.
There was much anticipation for the sequel to the commercial success of the debut Air Jordan, however; Michael broke his foot three games into the 1985-86 season pushing back the sophomore shoe to 1987.
The great anticipation and buzz for the followup shoe had many people puzzled when the Air Jordan 2 was unveiled. In a time when brands paid players to wear shoes and clothes with the brand logo visible, the Jordan 2 had almost no external branding – most notably the shoe lacked Nike’s famous Swoosh logo. While the Air Jordan 1 was heavily marketed by Nike for being banned from the NBA, the Air Jordan 2 was completely compliant only coming in two colorways for the high-top and low-top that didn’t remotely infringe on the NBA’s uniform code for footwear.
Nike took the Air Jordan 2 up a notch from the other basketball shoes in the game outfitting them entirely with premium leather and faux iguana skin. Rather than being produced in Korea like the Air Jordan 1, the Air Jordan 2 was produced in Italy where at the time many premium tennis shoes were produced. The European production, elevated materials, and premium packaging drew a retail price of $100 which matched the Adidas Forum High for the most expensive basketball shoe ever at the time.
While wearing the Air Jordan 2, MJ took his career to new heights. He would average 37 points per game and notched his first of seven consecutive scoring titles. During the 1986-87 NBA season, Jordan had a stretch of nine games where he scored 40 or more points, he made the All-NBA First Team for the first time in his career, was an All-Star, and won his first Slam Dunk Championship while wearing the Air Jordan 2. Though Jordan had a fantastic regular season, Chicago would again see a first-round playoff exit being swept by the Boston Celtics 3-0.
Even with those eye-popping stats and career accomplishments, the Air Jordan 2 was a commercial failure. It didn’t come close to the sales numbers of its predecessor and wasn’t well-received by Jordan either. The Air Jordan 2 saw a brief return again in 1994 with a high and low top release of the White/Black/Red colorway but similar to the Air Jordan 3 and Air Jordan 1 re-release, it failed to get the attention of consumers at the time.
These Jordans made a silver screen cameo on the feet of Bill Murray in the 1996 film “Space Jam,” but would not see the light of day until 2004 when they were retroed again with a mediocre response.
The Air Jordan 2 is one of the first models that has earned the “Love/Hate” tag from collectors and Jordan fans alike.