In August 2020, somebody clicked enter on their computer and in the process made history. The Air Jordan 1's High "Shattered Backboard" sneakers became the most expensive pair of sneakers in the world, selling for $615,000 at a Christie's online auction.
This was no fluke either, as the previous record for Air Jordans $560,00 was attained only a year earlier by Christies rival, Sotherby's.
So what is it about Jumpman's shoes that has everyone, from kids in the streets to high-level investors, going crazy? Keep on reading to find out.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Let's start with the obvious. The man himself, his Airness, and his achievements on the court are a large part of what elevates his sneakers to more than just a shoe.
From a young age, he was a hard worker and competitive, something that is expected of someone trying to be the best. But Jordan wasn't your average player. He won freshman of the year in his first and the Naismith and Wooden College Player of the Year in his last year at UNC.
But it was in the NBA where he really began to shine. He was able to move with elegance and power, defending as well as he could score. Most importantly for Bull's fans, Michael Jordan always turned up for the big occasion, leaving him with 6 NBA championships and a regular season and playoff points average records that still stand to this day.
When you watched Jordan it seemed as if there was something superhuman about him. And in everyone's quest to imitate the Black Cat, the closest they could get was copping a pair of Air Jordans.
Air Jordans and the Endorsement That Changed Everything
Michael Jordan wasn't the first star to be endorsed by a sneaker company, nor will he be the last. But what stood Air Jordans apart was the fact that Nike knew what they were getting. To entice him from his preferred option of Adidas, young Jordan was given unprecedented influence on the shoe design as well as an unheard-of share of the profits, setting the bar for modern-day sports stars.
Michael Jordan wore the 1st Air Jordans for months on the court before they were available to the public, helping their appeal. To top it off the NBA did them a solid and banned the red and black shoes. They were against the white shoe-only uniform policy of the time which only made them more appealing.
So the Air Jordans release had a great build-up due to the anticipation of the public and their forbidden factor. But Nike then turned it up to 11 with their iconic marketing campaign. You could find Michael Jordan everywhere and wherever he was he was wearing the shoes.
Did it work?
Well, Nike anticipated profits of $3 million by year 4. They were able to make $126 in year 1!
Air Jordans and Popular Culture
The last factor has to be the influence of the shoes in pop culture. Jordan was cool no doubt, but when people like LL Cool J and the Fresh Prince ended up wearing them then it was clear that Michael Jordan shoes had transcended the basketball court.
Over the years, they have been a part of music videos and album covers, and they have collaborated with stars and designers alike. Nowadays, you can wear shirts with matching graphics with your Jordans or Yeezys to show off your footwear. Several sites, such as illCurrency.com, offer sneaker-matching sets, hoodies, and hats that you can match with unique sneakers.
Constant changes in design plus having their finger on the pulse has lead to millions in sales of Jordans online and in-store, plus an unprecedented influence on popular culture. It seems like everyone still wants to be like Mike!
A Star Shoe That Will Never Fade
It's fair to say that Air Jordans are part of the fabric of the USA when it comes to fashion, and now you know why!
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