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The Untold Story – Michael Jordan

March 23, 2023 8:00 PM
The Untold Story – Michael Jordan

Especially for Air Max Day 2023, Sneakerjagers comes with 'The Untold Story' community challenge. In The Untold Story challenge, we tell the untold stories behind Nike's successful works and collaborations. After Tinker Hatfield's story behind the Air Max 1 'Big Bubble', today we're talking about Michael Jordan. Told by Sneakerjagers, here you'll learn more about the basketball player who rocked the world of Nike.

Michael Jordan

Basketball player Michael Jordan is perhaps one of the most influential athletes of all time. Born on February 17, 1963, and raised in New York, Michael found his passion for the sport of basketball at an early age. In 1968, he moved to North Carolina and attended Emsley A. Laney High School. Michael was athletic and competitive from an early age and followed several sports at school, including basketball, baseball, and soccer.

Image Getty Images

Despite being considered one of the best basketball players of all time today, Michael Jordan was not immediately allowed to join the Varsity team at Emsley A. Laney High School. Michael was said to be "too short" to play during his freshman year at 6 feet tall, unlike his later teammate, Harvest Leroy Smith.

The disappointment was great, but this only gave Michael more motivation to train even more. He joined Laney's junior varsity team and scored several 40 points during the season. After much training (and a growth spurt), Michael joined Emsley A. Laney High School's varsity team the following year.

"The key to success is failure"

During the years 1981 - 1984, Michael played for the University of North Carolina. Although the team had booked great successes and Michael scored the winning point as a freshman, the team lost the NCAA Championship in 1983. In Michael's wise words, "The key to success is failure," this setback was turned into motivation and UNC's team won the championship the following year.

Michael Jordan's competitive and sometimes cocky attitude has brought him to where he is today. In 1984, Michael played his first year in the NBA, the biggest basketball tournament in the world, playing under the jersey number "23" with the Chicago Bulls. As a Shooting Guard, he scored an average of 30 points per game, making him one of the best players on the team and league.

Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls
Image Getty Images

Great success with the Chicago Bulls did not come out of the blue. After a rough start and several lost championships, the team won its first NBA Championship against the Lakers in 1991. This was just the beginning, and in the years that followed, the Chicago team took home one trophy after another.

"I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it is an illusion to me. Failure always made me try harder next time", said Michael Jordan.

Air Jordan 1 High 'Bred' banned

Air Jordan 1 High 'Bred'
Image Nike

In 1985, Nike and Michael Jordan released their first sneaker; the Air Jordan 1 High. The collaboration between the two was an instant hit and the silhouette was a one-of-a-kind. A high collar, leather upper, and sleek design, something that was new on the basketball court. Designed by Peter Moore, the sneaker remains an all-time favorite to this day.

In 1984, the year Michael debuted his Air Jordan 1 High on the court, the NBA banned the sneakers. The story went around that the sneaker in question went against NBA rules and did not match the uniform policy in place at the time. The NBA was so strict that every game that Michael did wear the sneakers, he had to pay the NBA a $5,000 fee.

Michael Jordan Air Jordan 1 Banned
Image Getty Images/Andrew D. Bernstein

It later became clear that this story was about the Nike Air Ship, and not the Air Jordan 1 High. Still, this publicity stunt was a good marketing ploy by Nike, and in 1985 Michael was featured in the 'Bred' colorway, the banned colorway. Wearing the banned sneaker led to more popularity, and the Air Jordan 1 High 'Bred' is to this day one of the most iconic colorways of the well-known silhouette.

The Untold Story

Especially for Air Max Day, Sneakerjagers is coming up with "The Untold Story. In The Untold Story, a community challenge in partnership with Nike, we tell the story of the 'Big Bubble' and Michael Jordan. Under the motto "failures that lead to success," we tell stories behind Nike's most successful works and collaborations. It is often the untold stories that can actually inspire one.

Like the basketball player Michael Jordan, who suffered many setbacks, achieving success lies in learning from your mistakes. A recurring theme in Sneakerjagers' The Untold Story. From March 21 through March 26, 2023, you can read more untold stories via the Sneakerjagers app.

In partnership with Nike, we are giving away 3x the Nike Air Max 1 '86 'Big Bubble'. Read the terms and conditions of this challenge here. Keep an eye on our Instagram and read more untold stories.

Also, don't forget to download the Sneakerjagers app and stay up to date on The Untold Story community challenge.