During early 1984, Nike was in serious jeopardy in the fast paced sportswear market. Suffering from its "white man jogging brand" image, Nike had no credit in the basketball world. The running shoe phenomenon that had fueled their sales in previous years was slowly dying, and they needed a way to revitalize and reinvent themselves in order to appeal to another segment of the market. That is when Nike saw something special in the rookie player Michael Jordan, they saw a chance, an opportunity. Nike signed Jordan to a $2.5 million deal for 5 years, plus royalties and other fringe benefits.
The introduction of the Air Jordan 1 turned the athletic shoe industry upside down. Before the Air Jordan 1, most basketball shoes were white, but the bold black and red styling of the Air Jordan 1 flouted this convention. The NBA banned the shoe from the league in response, but Michael Jordan wore them anyway, racking up serious fines of up to $5000 a game. Nike, of course, was more than happy to pay these to keep the shoes in the game and in the public eye. All this controversy and Jordan’s spectacular performance that year served to put the Air Jordan line on the road to becoming a household name.
Air Jordan have consistently been among the best selling basketball shoes since their creation in 1985. The designers take his ideas, hobbies, and life into account and incorporate these themes into the shoes.