Back in the 1984 when Nike first released the Air Jordan Shoe, no one had the idea of what kind of monster was being unleashed. At the time no one, at Nike, NBA or Jordan himself, had no idea that almost thirty years later that the shoe would still be relevant but also the most sought after across the globe. So the question becomes, what is it that made not only your average fan, but athletes as well say I have to associate myself with the Air Jordan brand?
The excellence Jordan displayed, via the six NBA titles and matching NBA Finals MVP trophies, allowed him to be viewed as the gold standard by the basketball players coming up through the college and high school ranks. Young athletes wanted to grow up to be like him and associated with anything that bore his name. This desire didn’t change after they made it to the NBA were playing on the big stage themselves, as shown by San Antonio’s own Stephen Jackson.
Jordan has been able to expand his influence from not only basketball shoes but to a clothing line through his Jumpman23 line. This line was not content in designing clothes for people to wear, but also desired to venture in to college basketball jersey design for some the power house teams in the NCAA top Division (UNC, Georgetown, Marquette, California-Berekely). These institutions of higher education were more than willing to tie their star with Jordan.
Just by taking a look at the members of Team Jordan you see that his influence went from the basketball court expanded to other fields of play. You have athletes that endorse the Air Jordan/Jumpman brand in basketball, baseball, football, track& field and even the NASCAR arena.
Members of this team would have numerous shoe and clothing companies beating down their door to get them to sign on the dotted line. But they choose to further enhance a world known brand as opposed to strike out and advance their own brand.
The current lack of success in finding the person with the complete package can be seen in today’s NBA. The shoe deals that were given to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James (clearly the NBA’s top stars) have failed to generate the buzz and success of the Air Jordan/Jumpman Brand. Both players approach and may surpass Jordan on the court, but they lack the mass appeal that Jordan had. Which makes me believe that the strangle hold Michael Jordan has on the sneaker aficionados will not be relinquished anytime soon.
As for Jackson, recall this is just a snippet of his sneaker collection as he showed off during the offseason just how vast his sneaker collection really is.
(photo via Jackson's Instagram)