June 9th, 2024 Summer Games (#62)
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The total global sneaker market revenue is expected to reach a value of over 100 billion dollars by 2026. These are arguably the most important individual pair of sneakers ever to be publicly offered. Michael Jordan single handedly reshaped sports marketing by way of his revolutionary endeavors with Nike, who in 1984, took a longshot on him, which turned out to be a win that no one (maybe aside from Michael and Mrs. Jordan) could have ever predicted. There is no more recognizable brand in the world today. As Michael entered his rookie year in 84’, Adidas, Converse and Nike all had their opportunities to pitch Dean Smith’s proudest rising star. The story goes that Nike showcased a video highlighting Jordan’s various dunks, scored to “Jump (For My Love)” by the Pointer Sisters. The important part is that the other bidders saw Michael as a figure to promote pre existing shoe lines, and Nike took Jordan’s sentiments seriously - ultimately making him a stand alone star and giving way to a signature shoe line. At the time, the NBA policy stated that the shoes must be 51% white and in accordance with the shoes that the rest of the team was wearing. Nike designed the Air Jordan I based on the Chicago Bulls colorway and intentionally paid the subsequent fines imposed by the NBA (approximately $15,000 per game in today’s terms). Nike had taken advantage of this marketing opportunity with the Air Jordan I “Banned” advertisement. Nike created a revolutionary new basketball shoe. On October 18th, the NBA threw them out of the game. Fortunately, the NBA cannot keep consumers from wearing them. Nike released the Air Jordan sneaker line in April 1985 with the goal of making $3 million in the first three years. The reported earnings were $126 million in their first year. The pair of sneakers offered here, are the birth of the Jordan brand, predating the ‘Jumpman’ and ‘wings’ logos, simply marked ‘Air Jordan’. The left sneaker is a size 13 and the right size 13.5, which was a trademark of Jordan, custom ordered to his unique requirements. The promo-code inside the heel of the left shoe reads ‘13 BH-101684-A-TY’ and the right, reading ‘131/2 BH-101684-A-TY’. The outside of each heel is stamped ‘AIR JORDAN’ in black. ‘NIKE’ with the underlying Swoosh logo on the tongues. Black and red ‘BRed’ colorway. Accompanied by a letter from our consignor, which reads ‘This pair of Air Jordan prototype samples were gifted to me from my college basketball coach in Portland OR, late in 1984. They were given to him directly from NIKE, for allowing NIKE’s Jordan shoe creator team to test out different styles of Jordan shoes on some of his athletes. They have been properly kept and stored for 40 years, and have never been displayed.’
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