The Air Jordan Line


The Air Jordan line of clothing and apparel has been, and probably will continue to be, a significant product line for Nike.

Michael Jordan has always inspired interesting products. I'm writing about Michael J. Jordan, the (first) Chicago Bulls and (later) Washington Wizards basketball player. Not Michael H. Jordan, the chairman and CEO of (formerly) Westinghouse Electric Corporation and (now) EDS (the common nickname for Electronic Data Systems Corporation, best known as the company Ross Perot founded).

Whether the Jordan product includes "winged basketballs", chunks of fake snake, "The JUMPMAN", or quilted leather/fabric composite, they almost always surprise the customer. After examining the Jordan product line, certain trends and patterns show up. Otherwise, just showing all the Air Jordan models takes several minutes over a slow modem! Michael was quite a basketball player before he retired. Some of it may be because his Mama, Deloris Jordan, is quite a lady! (Both when raising Michael and to this day...)

Jump to the Jumpman's shoes:

Go straight to information about each of the models!

Before Air Jordan: Michael Jordan in College

Well.... would you believe he wore Converse Pro Leather high-tops (usually associated with "Dr. J", but Michael also wore them) with Carolina blue trim?

The Era of the Winged Basketball

The first two Air Jordan basketball shoes featured a "winged basketball" logo. The Air Jordan 1 featured the "winged basketball" logo on the top outside, at approximately ankle level. The Air Jordan 2 featured the same logo, but moved it to the tongue of the shoe.

The Era of the Flaunted Air

Air Jordan basketball shoes (true to their name) have always featured Nike AIR cushioning. Unlike the running and training shoe lines, the Air Jordan shoes have not shown off their Nike AIR as a usual feature. Only the Air Jordan 3 through Air Jordan 6 had visible Nike AIR.

The Era of the Rising JUMPMAN

From the Air Jordan 3 onward, the Air Jordan product line has featured a logo known as the "JUMPMAN". Until Michael Jordan's early retirement, the "JUMPMAN" jumped around:

The Era of Premature Retirement

The Air Jordan 9 came out when Michael Jordan was in his first retirement from basketball. Michael Jordan did demonstrate his baseball batting ability (such as it was) indoors while wearing this particular model of Air Jordan.

While Michael was out of commission late in the 2001-2002 season, some of his Wizards teammates have been seen wearing these.

The Era of the Returning JUMPMAN

The Air Jordan 10 was in production when Michael Jordan returned to playing basketball.

Michael Jordan was back in full swing for the Air Jordan 11 model year.

The Era of the JORDAN Brand

While Nike did not reveal the JORDAN Brand marketing plan until late 1997, there were earlier, tantalizing hints in the products on store shelves.

While the Air Jordan 12 was still on store shelves, Nike brought forth the JUMPMAN Pro. It was a shoe with many Air Jordan characteristics, including the "JUMPMAN" logo, but not the "Air Jordan" name. Similarly, while the Air Jordan 13 was on the store shelves, the JUMPMAN Pro Quick and JUMPMAN Pro Strong came to market.

Late 1997 brought forth a troika of shoes that started the JORDAN Brand. The Air Jordan 13, Air Jordan Team, and Air Jordan Trainer have come to market. (Note that the JORDAN Brand products do not have the NIKE name or the SWOOSH on them. Similarly, the packaging only carries the NIKE name and address in small type on the bottom.)

The JUMPMAN Pro Quick and JUMPMAN Pro Strong from Spring and Summer 1998 are also JORDAN Brand products.

Only the Nike athletic shoe wizards (and, undoubtedly, some industrial spies in the athletic shoe plants) know what surprises are coming next. A picture of what turned out to be the Air Jordan 14 arrived in my E-mail in June 1998.

Fall 1998 brought some real surprises, including the Women's Jordan. Since then, the Air Jordan line has continued through the Air Jordan 15 through the Air Jordan 21.

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Last Updated: 18 April 2012 11:32

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