There is a great possibility that basketball season this year will be cut short or will never happen at all due to the looming lockout that the NBA is currently plagued. Both NBA Players Association and Team owners are still trying to straighten out issues. But it seems that these guys are not in a hurry to resolve their differences and work out their demands. While wishing basketball season will start this year, I’ve decided to uplift myself by writing about someone that truly changed NBA basketball – the game, as well as the money-making sneaker industry side of things.
A stellar career at the University of North Carolina started it all; where he led the Tar Heels to an NCAA Championship in 1982. He was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984, picking him third at the NBA draft. He mesmerized his fans with grace, finesse and tongue-out drive to the basket moves which he backed up with accolades and accomplishments that included five MVP awards, six NBA Finals MVP awards, 14 NBA All-Star Game appearances, 10 NBA scoring titles, NBA Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year Awards, two Olympic Gold Medals and six NBA titles – Furthermore, the only player in NBA history to win back-to-back regular season and NBA Finals MVP awards. In 2004, he revealed a passion for motorcycle racing and founded MJ Motorsports. He purchased part of the Charlotte Bobcats franchise in 2010. I can still go on and on and on but by this time you already know who I’m describing – Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
Michael Jordan, a well-known icon and epitome of the NBA, a business mogul, earned himself nicknames such as “His Airness”, “Air Jordan”, and “MJ”. Michael Jordan made such a significant impact when he entered the NBA that he changed and transformed the outlook of the athletic footwear industry. Nike of course tried to capitalize on his popularity by exciting the fans and sneakerheads with annual releases of “Air Jordan” which started in 1984. When every player was sporting the boring white high and low tops, “His Airness” captivated his fans with bold colors of red, black and white that matched the Chicago jersey color ways. There was even a time where Nike opted to make a statement and paid for Jordan’s $5000 NBA fine (due the non-conforming look of his kicks / against the norm) for every game that he wore the red and black color way of the Air Jordan I during home or away games. Even after retirement, his marketability remained untouched. Nike kept a separate division dedicated to Jordan-esque style, elegance, poise and commitment, which brings us to the “Jordan Brand”. Nike was so confident with MJ that they gambled and chose to replace the all so famous “Swoosh” logo after the first Air Jordan release with Jordan’s image of his free throw line dunk. The dunk that made us believe that man can levitate… hang in the air… fly like a superhero.
It may be years now since the series of “J’s”, as most people will call them, had been released under the Jordan Brand. A number of “J” fusion versions came out to revive the sneak excitement of the past but it’s nowhere close to the originals. The young-once and young’ins today long for original color ways and versions of the “J’s”. Nike heard this cry and saw a new market for bringing back the ol’skul styling of the Air Jordans. Why won’t Nike listen to this cry when way back when… a pair of Jordans was $80-$120. Now, a pair would for a minimum cost $150-$500 depending on the Air Jordan version. I must say that the most popular Air Jordans were versions 1 through 14 – however, the J – III, IV, VI, IX, XI and XII are considered the most sellable sneaks and can drive prices up depending on the color way or edition.
Well now if you’ve been waiting to get a hold of reasonably priced brand new “J’s”, the wait is over – last year and especially this year seemed to be the year of the J-retros. The young once and young’ins can now get and enjoy the beloved Jordan retro kicks. Here’s a cheat sheet that I would like to share – release dates that you may want to mark your calendars.
MJ definitely had his ups and downs in his career but there is no doubt that MJ always had that swagger that not only changed the game of basketball but turned a new chapter in the world of kicksology. He will always be imitated by ball players but there will only be one “Air Jordan”. Just like I’ve always said, you may not jump and fly as high as Mike, you may not have the first step that leaves opponents behind just like Mike but you can always rock J’s and relive the Jordan legacy in you. Until the next one… – JP
See some of Michael Jordan’s – Top 10 MJ Game Dunks
– 23isback.com (Release Dates)
– sneakernews.com (AJ 1-23 Pics)