Everyone knows just how important Michael Jordan is in the history of Nike. And every sneakerhead certainly knows how this partnership came about. But Hollywood believes that there are still people out there who missed some of the most important details of the most high-profile sports deal of the era, the one that would mark a before and after in both the NBA and the sneaker industry. That's why "Air", produced by Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures, directed by Ben Affleck and starring Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro, will premiere on April 5.
The Nike-Jordan partnership that changed history
Air Movie: The Story Behind the Logo
For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Sonny Vaccaro was the man who managed to convince Nike to invest all the money they wanted to spend on several promising players on just the one. And so Nike finally signed a 5-year contract worth 15 million dollars with young NBA newcomer: Michael Jordan. This was just the beginning of today’s renowned Air Jordan brand.
Here's the trailer for the AIR Movie, based on the Michael Jordan and Nike collaboration
At that time, the name Michael Jordan was just starting to be heard across the United States. Nowadays, he is known all over the world. Phil Knight, founder and executive of Nike, who at that time was not as globally recognized as he is today, said years later that "signing Jordan was the best decision I have ever made in my life". As a player, Michael Jordan won six NBA rings and five MVP trophies wearing Nike sneakers. Funnily enough, Jordan confessed he wanted to close a deal with adidas. As he explains in the acclaimed documentary series "The Last Dance", it was his parents who encouraged him to accept Nike's proposal
Revisiting the Iconic Air Jordan Shoes
That deal was just the beginning of a successful collection of Jordan sneakers. On April 1, 1985, Nike launched a new model on the market. A white, red and black sneaker that would go on to become one of the most iconic sneakers in the history of sports: the Air Jordan 1. They cost $65 and Nike expected to sell about 100,000 pairs in the first year. In just one month, more than 450,000 were sold. Further proof of its great success is the legacy it has built up over the years and the countless number of designs that have been created. A Nike icon that is a constant presence in our catalog.
The emblematic Air Jordan 1: Reissues and retro sneakers
After the huge success of the AJ I, Nike decided to continue experimenting with its new signature model. The Air Jordan II ditched the brand's signature swoosh in search of a more modern style, and the Air Jordan III gave way to the iconic Jumpman. In 1988 they began to incorporate innovative technologies and materials designed for better on-court performance. Nike's marketing also shifted with the Air Jordan IV, starting a series of commercials featuring Michael Jordan and Mars Blackmon, a character from "She's Gotta Have It" played by Spike Lee. Michael Jordan wore the AJ IVs in what is still considered to be the most famous game in NBA history. The one where Jordan made a legendary buzzer-beater in Game 5 against the Cavaliers.
This model followed the player throughout his career and beyond, adding to his outstanding legacy. The Air Jordan XX is the latest model in the retro collection of this design, and was released to celebrate Jordan’s 20th anniversary.
The Jordan Retro Collection
It's clear that the story of Michael Jordan and Nike is one of the greatest success stories in the world of sports, and even if we know all the details, it's worth telling again and again. Just as it is worth revisiting the best games of one of our favorite sports stars.