WATCH: Oldest Known NBA Footage of Michael Jordan

Just when you thought you saw every bit of Michael Jordan content on YouTube, some new footage just surfaced.

When Michael Jordan entered the NBA in the fall of 1984, media was not what it is today.  Any given practice is recorded from multiple angles with dozens of active cameras constantly rolling in tremendously strong resolution in today’s state of the art arenas.  When it comes to NBA games, there is not a single game played that doesn’t have the camera and production crew on hand that isn’t world-class by sports broadcasting standards.

Nike Air Ship in White/Red game worn and autographed by Michael Jordan
Nike Airship in White/Red game-worn and autographed by Michael Jordan

The early days of Michael Jordan were not broadcast nationally.  At the time, much of the coverage was performed by local TV stations or small regional sports networks. While some footage by the stations was recorded for the archives of the station, this wasn’t always the case and after a game was aired, that was it.

Prior to today, the earliest video footage of Michael Jordan playing in a Chicago Bulls uniform was none other than the first game of his rookie season when the Chicago Bulls hosted the Washington Bullets on October 26, 1984.  In this game, sneaker fans will regularly call out the fact that Michael Jordan is wearing an NBA color-code compliant pair of Nike Air Ships in White/Red.

Photos of Michael Jordan playing in the 1984 NBA Preseason are referenced from time to time when the debate of whether or not the Nike Airship was banned because of its color rather than the brand’s claim that the Air Jordan 1 was, in fact, the shoe banned from the game. Online, there is very limited in-game video footage of his rookie preseason.

Michael Jordan wearing the Nike Air Ship in Black/Red in final NBA Preseason game against New York Knicks on October 18, 1984
Michael Jordan wearing the Nike Air Ship in Black/Red in final NBA Preseason game against New York Knicks on October 18, 1984

Adam Ryan, an Australian-based NBA historian, posted the video footage to YouTube just a few hours ago. Adam is a self-described Jordan-era specialist and runs a podcast about Michael Jordan titled InAllAirness. The footage that Adam posted was put together from the October 19, 1984 episode of “Time Out,” a weekly sports program that was hosted by a number of Chicago area journalists and sportscasters that aired on Chicago Public Media station WTTW. While the air date of the episode coincidentally occurred on the same evening of the final preseason game against the  Kansas City Kings that took place in Chicago, the game footage was from when the two teams faced off earlier in the month on October 7, 1984, that was played in St. Louis.

While the clips shown of Michael Jordan are limited from his 32 point performance, the video features some great opinions and predictions about Michael Jordan by NBA greats and Hall of Famers that include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Walt Frazier, John “Red” Kerr, Mark Eaton, Bernard King, Al Attles, and Bob Lanier.

Michael’s got to realize that he’s not seven foot, so he’s not going to carry a team in the NBA. I think he will be a great addition to the Bulls and should draw fans to the game, but it takes more than one guy to win games. – Walt Frazier

Bernard King shared that he thought that “Michael Jordan’s caliber will excel a lot under pressure whereas a lot of athletes will not.”

The segment closed out with a very bold, but now known to be accurate prediction by Walt Frazier when he said that he thought Michael Jordan will be a future Hall of Famer.

I’m sure that one day, he (Michael Jordan) should be in the Hall of Fame.

– Walt Frazier

Michael Jordan's First NBA Game on Film
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Michael Jordan's First NBA Game on Film
This is the oldest known video footage of Michael Jordan in the NBA playing in his second preseason game before his rookie year in 1984. In the footage sneaker fans can see MJ wearing the Nike Airship in Black/Red.
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