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Built on Defiance
Before his six Championships, six finals MVPs, five regular-season MVPs, and two gold medals, Michael Jordan started off like everyone else: a kid with a dream. As a sophomore in high school, Michael even struggled to make varsity. But what happened next would define the rest of Michael’s career, as well as the Jordan Brand.
Instead of throwing in the towel, MJ went all in. He trained non-stop for the next season, earning a spot on varsity. By his senior year, Michael was averaging 26.8 points per game in his final high school season. After his success in high school, he went on to play college ball at North Carolina.
The Jordan Brand saw a similar come up – in fact, MJ almost never signed on with Nike. But by offering to use Michael’s input when designing their shoes, Nike closed the deal.
It wasn’t smooth sailing yet, though. After designing the black and red Air Jordan I, the league banned the sneaker for violating uniform policy. But Nike and MJ weren’t about to let a dress code stop them from debuting Jordan’s signature sneaker. He wore them anyway, generating a $5,000 fine and nationwide buzz. Jordan was ready for takeoff.
Air Jordan Takes Flight
In his first season, MJ averaged 28.2 points per game while wearing the Air Jordan I’s, earning him the Rookie of the Year award. Jordan fever was starting. But after a dip in sales, the Jordan Brand needed something to take Air Jordan to next level. That’s when legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield entered the picture. His designs for the iconic Jordan Retro 3 began with ditching the swoosh and creating Jordan’s own logo: the Jumpman. Combine that with a visible Nike Air bubble in the heel and elephant print, and the Air Jordan III was an instant classic.
Jumpman, The Icon
Throughout the rest of his career, Michael Jordan continued to inspire the world. Moments like “The Flu Game,” where he carried his team through the championship despite having the flu, or “The Shot,” his buzzer-beater jumper to clinch the title, launched Jordan into the future as a basketball hero for generations to come.
The Jordan Brand mirrored Michael’s habit of greatness. The Air Jordan XI, with its patent leather sheen, became on of the most coveted sneakers of all time; inspired by MJ’s cat-like dexterity, the Air Jordan XIII is used on courts everywhere; the Air Jordan V is still a staple of streetwear.
The Next Generation of Greatness
After MJ’s retirement, the Jordan Brand was just getting started. With their sights set on the next sports legend, they signed All-Stars from a variety of disciplines, including Derek Jeter, Ray Allen, Randy Moss, Drake, Russell Westbrook, and Kawhi Leonard. But no matter who carries the torch, the Jordan Brand is determined to push the limits, redefine what’s possible, and achieve greatness.