Other sneakerheads call you “the dispensary of knowledge” when it comes to the low down on kicks. But do you know all there is to know about Air Jordans? Here is a test then, who came up with the name “Air Jordan”? The answer, surprisingly, is David Falk, Michael Jordan‘s agent. From available archives, interviews, sporting news articles, and more, Complex compiled a definitive guide to things about Air Jordans that we don’t know about. For one, did you know Michael Jordan was a “adidas nut” and wanted to sign with adidas at first? Or the original black and red colorway turned Jordan off, which he said “I can’t wear that shoe, those are the Devil colors.” When Peter Moore and Rob Strasser left Nike, Jordan thought of leaving the Swoosh too at the end of his contract in 1988. What made him stayed on? The Jumpman logo by Moore and a young designer named Tinker Hatfield. Here are some of the interesting facts…
23. Superstar Jordan
When Michael Jordan left the University of North Carolina in 1984, he wanted to sign with adidas, not Nike. He was a self-described “adidas nut,” and told his agent that if the deal the German company offered was even close, he’d sign with them. Apparently it wasn’t. Their loss.
22. First Flight
The very first drawing of the Air Jordan ball-and-wings logo was sketched out on the spur of the moment by Nike’s Peter Moore, while the “Air Jordan” name was actually conceived of by superagent David Falk. And while it’s hard to believe now, Falk wanted Jordan treated more like a tennis player than a basketball player â€” because back then, they were the ones getting the signature product.
17. Jordan IIIs Kept MJ From Walking
Michael wasn’t too big on signing with Nike from the start and after two of the people who did the most to bring him to the brand (Peter Moore and Rob Strasser) left, he was considering a change of scenery as well â€” his initial deal was up in 1988. In the end, it was young designer Tinker Hatfield’s incorporation of the elephant print and the Moore-conceived Jumpman logo on the revolutionary Air Jordan IIIs (and Michael’s dad telling His Airness that Nike had his best interest at heart) that convinced him to stay. The Air Jordan IIIs should be everyone’s favorite shoe beyond aesthetic reasons.
13. Solo Project
After Jordan left the NBA to pursue baseball full-time, Tinker Hatfield was told to abandon the Air Jordan line and move on to new things. But Tinker didn’t think Mike was done with hoops quite yet, and continued to design new Air Jordans as if he’d never retired. Without his passion and belief, the Jordan line might have died after the VIII.
11. Odd Inspirations
It is no secret that Tinker Hatfield has drawn inspiration from strange places when designing Jordans, but maybe none as strange as a lawn mower and its protective cover that helped birth the most iconic Jordan to date â€” the XIs. Patent leather has found its way onto countless sneakers since, but it’s worth remembering that, on the Air Jordan XI, it served a functional purpose besides adding flash.
Just like bonus tracks on your favorite album, the Air Jordan XXI came with something extra that you might not have known was even there. Heck, you might still haven’t seen it. If you ever hold them up to a black light, a special message illuminates. What is it? Find out for yourself.
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