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Get to know the Air Jordan brand
The beginning of the Air Jordan's rise to fame wasn't all that thrilling. In fact in 1984, Nike had started to take a turn for the worse when the running shoes that first made them popular began to lose their appeal. It was at this time that professional athletes had started to endorse certain brands - Converse had deals with both Larry Bird and Magic Johnson - and Nike knew it needed a name for its new collection of shoes. Insert Michael Jordan. The superstar was less than thrilled about putting his name on a pair of shoes at first, however his agent David Falk saw the deal's opportunity and offered to pair up with Nike to create a line of basketball sneakers dubbed the Air Jordans.
After much negotiating that year, Jordan agreed to pair up with Nike to create the new, updated and stylish brand of basketball shoes. Nike introduced the Air Jordan 1's in 1985 and they took off like wildfire. Fans were excited about the change in the way basketball sneakers looked - before the Jordans, most sneakers were traditional white with perhaps a pop of color. The Jordans came out in bold black and red colorways, something fans of basketball or just of sneakers went crazy for.
From here, the brand continued to see success, shoe after shoe. The Jordan VI came out in the wake of the Chicago Bulls 1991 championship, with Jordan grabbing the MVP spot. Because of the timing, this version of the Air Jordan became an instant icon - the cool black, white and red hues matched the Bulls uniforms and fans everywhere wanted to be like Mike.
As Nike and the Air Jordan family grew, new, innovative collections were a must. In 1994 Nike dropped the Jordan X that let fans show off their pride for their home cities. The sneakers were available in multiple colorways that were meant to represent different U.S. cities. The sneakers also came out on the heels of Jordan returning to basketball following his first retirement.
Fast-forward to 2008 when the Jordan XXIII was released, many fans assumed it would be the last pair created. Gossip was even more widespread due to the fact that Jordan's iconic number 23 was embroidered on the sneakers. Jordan had already been retired from the game for almost four years and many believed this would be the end of an era. The all black colorway was both sleek and final.
Despite the rumors, the Jordan brand has continued to live on. In 2012 alone, numerous versions of the shoe have been released or are set to be put out including the Jordan Retro 4 "Black Friday" the Jordan Retro 9 "Photo Blue" and the popular Retro 9 Kilroy's. All of these versions come in unique colorways that offer fans of the early Jordan days a real throwback feel. For an even deeper old school vibe, Nike will be dropping the Jordan Retro 11's on December 21 and the kicks represent the classic style Jordan rocked during his time with the Bulls. The black, red and white style is sure to bring fans back to the reign of Jordan.
Over the Air Jordan span of production, more than 100 different shoes have been made and Nike has branched out to include cleats, running shoes and leisure sneakers under the umbrella of the Jordan name.