In 1984, after winning a national title at the University of North Carolina and a Gold Medal at the Olympic games in Los Angeles, Michael Jordan was selected 3rd overall by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Draft. That year Nike also signed Michael to a five-year endorsement contract worth a reported $2.5 million (plus royalties). There was initially some skepticism over the hefty contract being given to an unproven marketing commodity, but MJ was quick to prove the critics wrong.
In 1985, Nike gave Jordan and his signature line of sneakers and apparel a unique logo - clearly, this line was created to be very different from Nike's previous basketball efforts.
Designer Peter Moore was given the task of coming up with the first Air Jordan shoe. The Air Jordan 1 featured the Nike Swoosh on the mid panel and a newly designed wings logo on the upper ankle. The first Air Jordan was similar in design to other popular Nike models released in the 1980s such as the Air Force 1, Terminator and Dunk. The Air Jordan I featured a Nike Air unit for heel cushioning, padded foam ankle collars for additional protection and a toe overlay for added lockdown.
Although the AJ 1 lacked technology, the colors and cultural significance set the sneaker industry on its ear. The Air Jordan 1 paved the way for colorful basketball sneakers. It transformed the way people looked at athletic shoes. During the 1985 NBA season, Michael wore the Air Jordan 1, which retailed for $65 - at the time, the most expensive basketball shoe on the market. The AJ I Black/Red colorway was banned by the NBA because of rules regarding shoe colors; Jordan was fined $5,000 for every game he wore them (Nike gladly footed the bill, as the fines created even more buzz around the Air Jordan 1). MJ's rookie campaign resulted in an All-Star appearance, Rookie of the Year honors and leading the Bulls to the playoffs after a four-year absence. Michael wore the Air Jordan I Red/White/Black as he scored 63 points against the Boston Celtics in the 1986 playoffs. Although the Bulls ended up losing to the Larry Bird-led Celtics, Michael showed that he was one of the bright young stars in the NBA.
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