Sunday, February 17th marked the 50th birthday of the greatest basketball player of all time (in my opinion). Michael Jeffrey Jordan made an impact on basketball, Nike, and collector shoes that will never be rivaled. I will not go into detail about his playing career because this would end up being a 20-page essay. But I will say that when I watch videos of him lighting up the Celtics for 63 in the 1986 Playoffs or switching hands in mid-air against the Lakers in game 2 of the 1991 NBA Finals, I still get goose bumps.
Michael actually wanted to sign an endorsement deal with Adidas but they never offered him a contract. His parents had to force him to take a meeting with Nike and founder Phil Knight in Oregon, who offered Jordan $500,000 dollars per year for 5 years and a percent of the sales. In the first year, 1985, Air Jordan sales for Nike were $130 million dollars. I am willing to call it the best money Nike has ever spent since Jordan Brand sales often top a billion dollars annually now!
I got my first pair in 8th grade and I cherished those shoes. They were $99.99 and I was smiling ear to ear whenever I would wear them indoors, yes I did not wear them outside for the first 6 months that I had them. I would arrive to school in a different pair with my awesome Air Jordan III’s in their box and change once inside and change back out of them before school was over. They were strictly inside only. I knew better, but I truly believed I could jump higher and run faster in those shoes. It was good times for me.
I blame that first pair for starting my obsession with Nike and Air Jordan shoes. I have more pairs than I will ever be able to wear and I still purchase more, with no end in sight. I do not have that original pair sadly, but I bought several of the same pair when it was re-released by Nike a few years ago. I wear them and still think after all these years that I can run a step faster and jump a few inches higher, because after all, I just wanna be like Mike.
Happy 50th Birthday Michael “ Air “ Jordan and thank you for all the memories you have given me and the rest of the world. You are truly the greatest.