When Nike first brought forth the Jordan 1 University Blue shoe line, it was the first time where interested parties squawked about tennis stars receiving more respect as brand influencers than basketball stars. The negotiating team that was involved in signing what was a brand new face to the professional basketball scene at the time was determined to make sure to make the most out of Michael Jordan's name and a wing-branded pair of shoes. Even though Jordan was brand new to professional basketball, he already made a solid name for himself in college basketball that made him a highly coveted influencer among a handful of shoe brands that wanted to cash in on what they felt was a good marketing scheme.
Anybody who claims to be a basketball fan, but claims they've never heard of Michael Jordan is either lying or is too young to know who the man is nor the legendary status he has achieved as one of the biggest names in the sport of all time. When Michael Jordan was picked as a guard by the Chicago Bulls during the 1984 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft, he was the third overall pick as the Houston Rockets snagged Hakeem Olajuwon and the Portland Trail Blazers seized Sam Bowie. It wasn't until the end of the draft report delivered by the New York Times did the name of Michael Jordan ever come up. Despite Jordan not being the top pick, the Chicago Bills saw enough potential in the man at the time to sign him to a six million dollar deal for a span of seven years. This was the third-largest rookie contract in the league's history. Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson are the two that received the largest and second-largest at the time.
At the same time, the Chicago Bulls were negotiating with Michael Jordan as a basketball player, Nike was also working to acquire him for a marketing campaign. There are still a number of mixed stories about the entire matter as there were several people involved with those negotiations, but when all that dust settled, the Air Jordan 1 and its winged logo were officially born as Nike's new shoe product. This, however, was not an easy task. On a personal level, Jordan loved the Adidas brand and wanted to sign with the German-based shoe manufacturer, but that was an opportunity that was never realized. There was also Converse, who already had Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in their star roster, but with nothing new in line for shoe design, it lacked enough appeal to win over the marketing negotiators. They had their sights set on Jordan signing a lucrative marketing deal with a company that could truly deliver and as it turned out, it was Nike. Jordan, however, wanted nothing to do with them as he preferred the lower-gravity shoes Adidas made. The Nikes were too high, but they offered to tailor a brand new shoe design that could better cater to what he needed as a basketball player. This meant sizing the left shoe size to thirteen and the right shoe size to 13.5 as his feet had that much difference in size between them.
When all was agreed, Michael Jordan was signed to a five-year deal with Nike at $500,000 per year. This was the most lucrative deal of its kind at the time. When the first run of the Jordan 1 University Blue shoes began, Michael Jordan did not wear these during his rookie season. It wasn't until April 1985 did the first generation of these shoes reach the store shelves for consumer purchase. Jordan did, however, wear a black and red Nike Air Ship shoe during a preseason game on October 18, 1984. NBA commissioner, David Stern, did not approve of the shoes as it broke the scheme of conformity. This resulted in a $5,000 USD fine each time Michael Jordan wore the shoes, which were covered by Nike. At the time, the NBA had it every basketball player had to sport white shoes that featured a secondary color that matched the player's team uniform. What Michael Jordan wore as footwear not only challenged NBA's rule about footwear, but the color code scheme belonging to the Chicago Bulls. Even Michael Jordan himself had reservations about the color scheme of the Nike shoes he was wearing at the time.
Uniquely Jordan 1
When Nike first created the Jordan 1 University Blue shoes, the original color scheme for Michael Jordan's home games was a white, black, and red colorway that is now known as the Black Toe. For out-of-town games, the color scheme was supposed to be black and red. There were photo shoots where Michael Jordan wore both of these shoes and it was at a time before the winged logos appeared on them. All it had was AIR JORDAN marked as a word in the place where the wings were supposed to go. When Michael Jordan posed, he used the same one he used for a 1984 cover shoot he did for Life Magazine. This same shot was later turned into a silhouette graphic that would later become the infamous Jumpman logo. When the wings were finally stamped into the Air Jordan shoes, along with the Air Jordan word print, these would be the shoes Michael Jordan started wearing while with the Chicago Bulls. These are the first of the Jordan 1 shoes. Also at this same time, Nike changed the colorways of the shoes to match the color scheme of the team Michael Jordan was playing for. On November 17, 1984, he wore the Chicago-colored Air Jordan 1 shoes for the first time. Throughout the rest of the season, he'd switch back and forth between the Air Jordan 1s and the Nike Air Ships. On February 1, 1985's All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, Michael Jordan opted to wear the black and red Air Jordans since it wasn't an official NBA game and he wouldn't be fined for it. However, this sparked the NBA Commissioner to once again send letters of disapproval. Back and forth, the fight over the shoes' color scheme and the standards the NBA laid out simply gave the Nike brand to go with a marketing scheme of rebellion. With Michael Jordan as the frontman, the entire Air Jordan line, starting with Jordan 1, became so popular that the store shelves had their work cut out for them to keep up with consumer demand.
Jordan 1 Diversification
The Swoosh design of the Jordan 1 saw at least twenty-three different models and colorways spawn from a simple shoe that garnered so much attention. Whether as originals or as knockoffs, the Jordan 1 shoes were the most popular of their kind at the time. In 1995, Nike attempted to go retro with the return of the Chicago Bulls color scheme and the black-red (BRED) scheme. This plan failed, but in 2001 Nike tried again but with a new mid-top shape. This was the right move as the interest in these new Air Jordan 1 models not only saw sales go through the roof but a spawn of new colorways and variants.
Jordan 1 University Blue
The Air Jordan 1 University Blue is among the retro-style Jordan 1 models that have joined the Nike lineup. Priced at $239.00 USD a pair, the university blue leather is the dominator of this color-contrasting design. The ankle, heel, toe, and outsole all have blue. The Nike-trademarked Swoosh, plus the collar and the shoelaces are in black, which contrasts beautifully against the white quarter panel, midsole, tongue, and toe box. The black wings logo with the University Blue branding on the tongue magnificently adds the final, detailed touch to one of the most popular sneaker-style shoes of all time. These shoes serve as a trip into the past when Michael Jordan first started out as the NBA star who refused to completely comply with the rules dictated to him and his teammates about what they can or cannot wear as far as footwear options were concerned. This is partly what made Michael Jordan become an icon, not just as a basketball hero, but as an advocate for a person's right to simply be themselves. The Jordan 1 University Blue shoes represent the same thing as the very wings featured on them suggests the wings of freedom. Freedom to be who you are without having to answer to the stigmas laid out by organizations who prefer conformity over individuality. These shoes are immensely popular and hard to come by at this time. On Nike's own website, the adult version and children's version of these shoes are sold out. They can be found on other sites, like eBay, but this is where the buyer needs to beware. There are always imitations selling knockoff brands that will look the same, but the quality simply won't be there. Also, since sites like eBay are auction-style, the $239 price tag has been seen to go much higher as there are some people who will pay any given price just to get their hands on a pair. The Jordan 1 University Blue color scheme was the original signature colorway Michael Jordan used when the Nike brand began marketing the Jordan 1 lineup. This was at the tail end of Jordan's rookie season in 1984. What he wore was a stark contrast to the color scheme belonging to the Chicago Bulls. This move caused controversy that saw Nike come up with color schemes to calm the NBA down, as well as the team Jordan was playing for.
Because of the popularity of Nike's retro introduction of the infamous Jordan 1 University Blue, plus how hard they are to come by, a number of companies have sprung from the woodwork in an attempt to sell the closest thing to the original in hopes to lure customers to buy their product. This has become quite a problem as fans really wanting to put their feet into a pair of these highly-coveted shoes are met with the possibility of grabbing what they think is authentic, only to learn it's a cheap knockoff. In a YouTube video presentation by the official Real or Fake reviewers, the presenter was very thorough in his presentation between the fake Jordan 1 shoes made by knockoff artists and the real Jordan 1 shoes actually made by Nike. Right from the presentation of the boxes, already there are key differences the consumer should be made aware of. If already the shoes you're interested in are sitting in a questionable box, this should serve as your first red flag to avoid buying them, unless you really don't care if the shoes you're getting are a fake knockoff from the real deal. In addition to the box issues, once the shoes are pulled out in his presentation, those with a discerning eye will catch the coloration difference between the shoes. Although the knockoff does a good job to come as close to the appearance of Nike's original, there are key differences in color clarity, label sizes, and print quality. Interestingly enough, not only was the video presenter really thorough pointing out the differences between the fake pair of Jordan 1 University Blue shoes and the authentic Nikes, he did bring up a few issues that do belong to the genuine brand. Even these flaws were brought up by another YouTube reviewer, Mr. Foamer Simpson, who has reviewed so many shoes as a presenter. Not only is he a well-known shoe reviewer, but is a huge fan of the Jordan 1 sneakers for some time now.
Michael Jordan's University
The University of North Carolina was where the great Michael Jordan played in college basketball. This is where he got noticed. The school colors are identical to the Jordan 1 University Blue as these signature shoes reflected a time in Michael Jordan's life before becoming the biggest basketball star the Chicago Bulls team ever had. For fans of Michael Jordan, owning the Jordan 1 University Blue shoes is like owning a piece of history. According to the Sneaker Files, the legacy Michael Jordan left behind for the university, as well as National Collegiate Athletic Association( NCAA ) basketball, is one for the record books. That game-winning jump shot he took in 1982 to score his college team the win is the very dream many basketball players can only hope to achieve for real.
What makes the Jordan 1 University Bue shoes what they are isn't simply because it's the make of a shoe from the Nike brand. It serves as a symbol. It did when Michael Jordan first riled up the NBA when he first wore them, and they still have historical significance today. For Michael Jordan, his innocence as a new basketball star came face to face with corporate expectations that pummeled him from all angles. Those infamous black, white, and blue shoes served as a message that one's own individuality shouldn't be compromised for anything. In a way, it still delivers that same message, but it's not really the shoe that makes a person who they are. It's the person wearing them.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
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