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  • Writer's pictureBayLeigh Routt

On This Day In History

On this day in 1985, the iconic Air Jordan 1s are released. Nike’s first contract with Michael Jordan allowed them to terminate the deal if he didn't bring in $4M in sales by his third year. His shoes brought in $70 million in the first three months. Since then, there has been a new release of his shoes every year, even after Jordan retired from playing basketball in 2003. Here are some other fun facts about the Jordan Brand:

  • Air Jordan1s earned $126 million in the first year.

  • The Jordan 1 Royal was never worn by Michael Jordan on an NBA court.

  • The shoes were released during Jordan's second season with the Chicago Bulls.

  • Air Jordan 1s were designed by Peter B. Moore, who was part of a small group of Nike executives.

  • Michael Jordan signed a five-year, US$2.5 million deal with Nike, three times more than any other deal in the NBA at the time.

  • In 2022, the Jordan Brand brought in $5.1 billion to Nike; of that, a reported $150–256 million went directly to Michael Jordan under his deal with Nike.

Nike wasn't the only company to approach the now legendary basketball star with a contract. As Michael Jordan entered his rookie year in 1984, he was approached to sign a shoe deal with Adidas and Converse. If you've seen the 2023 movie Air, featuring Matt Damon and Viola Davis, then you might be aware of how many companies saw Michael Jordan simply as a figure or icon they could use to promote their brand with preexisting shoe lines. Nike, on the other hand, took the basketball star's criticism into account to make him "a stand alone star and give him a signature shoe line" (L. John Wertheim).


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