Air Jordans have been around for almost 30 years now and the brand, along with the sneakers, have plenty of back story and interesting facts you may not know about. From MJ’s favorite model to hidden messages you can only see under a black light, you’re sure to come away with a lot more knowledge about Jordans than you knew when you woke up. Jordan sneakers have worldwide appeal and if the frenzied hunger of today’s sneaker market continues, Air Jordans will continue to reign supreme for another 30 years.
Michael Jordan recently admitted while he loves all of his sneaker children, he has the highest affinity for 11s, followed closely by the 3s, 12s, and 13s.
Cake, Cake, Cake
Last year Nike cashed out for $2.25 BILLION (with a “B”) in profits from sales of Jordan Brand products.
First Time For Everything
In an interview with Cigar Aficionado back in 2005, MJ admitted that he had never even worn a Nike sneaker prior to signing with them in 1985.
These GOATs Ain't Loyal
Despite his long-standing relationship with Nike, Converse and adidas were actually MJ’s favorite kicks during his days at UNC.
Michael Jordan’s agent, David Falk, is actually the man credited with the idea of pairing him with Bugs Bunny for a feature length film which would eventually become Space Jam. That movie would bring MJ even more worldwide fame, and of course some highly coveted inspired sneakers in the process.
Money In The Bank
Despite only being sold for $65 a pair, Nike raked in $130 million off Jordans in it’s debut year of sales.
Set It Off
While Tinker Hatfield is the most widely known sneaker designer from the Air Jordan line, it was Nike designer Peter Moore who made history with the first Jordan “wings-and-ball” logo, and of course the Jordan I model in general.
The Devil Is A Lie
Upon seeing the first black/red (“Bred”) colorway of the Jordan I, MJ balked telling designer Peter Moore, “I can’t wear that shoe. Those are Devil colors.”
No Flex Zone
The 2001 “True Blue” Air Jordan 3 Retro was the first re-release of an original colorway NOT to feature “Nike Air” on the back heel.
Things Done Changed...Quick
The Air Jordan 2 was the first Jordan model sneaker that didn’t feature Nike’s patented “Swoosh” logo. They did, however, feature the word “Nike” on the back heel, bottom of the sole and insoles.
Shinin' On 'Em
Inspired by reflective material normally used on running shoes, the Air Jordan 5 became the first basketball shoe to ever utilize 3M material.
Lemme Upgrade You
Not only did the Air Jordan 2 not feature any Nike Swoosh branding, but it is also the first and only Jordan model made in Italy of Italian leather.
The Jordan 5 was partly inspired by flames found on speedy WW2 planes. MJ and Tinker would talk about on-court speed and “zigging” while the other players were “zagging,” hence, the flames point forward instead of backward.
You're A Life-Saver
Tinker Hatfield’s insubordination after MJ’s retirement kept the line from dying completely. He was told to stop designing for the Jordan line, but he never did. Thank God for that.
Form Follows Function
The famous, or infamous, depending on who you ask, “icy” outsole on the Air Jordan 11 isn’t just for aesthetic purposes. It’s in place to keep the rubber from hardening and also provides additional traction on the court.
Due to his retirement, the Air Jordan IX was never worn by MJ on-court as a member of the Chicago Bulls. He did, however, wear them with the Wizards.
Pay The Cost To Be The Boss
The Air Jordan 17 was the first basketball sneaker to hit the $200 retail mark.
The Air Jordan 13 was the first Air Jordan sneaker released under the “Jordan Brand” umbrella. The release was accompanied by the inauguration of Jordan Trainers, as well as Jordan Team sneakers.
Signing Off In Style
In what he thought would be his final game against the Knicks at MSG, MJ wore a pair of Jordan Is and proceeded to stuff the box score with 47 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals, effectively signing the deed to Madison Square Garden and making it his own personal basketball Terrordome.
On The Low
The circular panel near the ankle of the Jordan 21 has a special “glow-in-the-dark” message that can only be seen under black light.
Lighter Than Air
When the Jordan XX9 officially hits the market, it will be the lightest Air Jordan ever made as it features a revolutionary, one-piece woven upper that moves naturally and comfortably with your foot.
Jokes On You
Jim Jackson (NJ Nets) scored 33 on MJ during the 1996-97 season while wearing Air Jordans. He trash-talked Michael so bad that MJ just had to point out that the only reason Jim was playing so well is because he was actually wearing Jordans during the game.
Outshining The Master
In 2012, the Jordan Brand accounted for 58% of the U.S. basketball shoe market, which is almost DOUBLE Nike’s piece of the sneaker pie at 34%. But, it’s all in the family!
Kiss The Rings
Jordan Brand accounts for 75% of the basketball shoes sold in the U.S. Of the shoes that retail for more than $100, Jordan Brand accounts for 86.5% of those sales.
What's In Your Wallet?
Nike has made a mint off of Michael Jordan and his likeness. Although the terms of MJ’s deal with the folks in Beaverton is under lock-and-key, estimates state that he takes home upwards of $60 million per year.