The Rise of Jordan
Michael Jordan stormed into the NBA and brought about a flair and athleticism never seen before. From his attitude to his jumping ability, he elevated the NBA to new heights. He differed from other basketball players with his trash-talking, athleticism, and willingness to win. Michael Jordan signed with Nike in his rookie year and thus began his Jordan shoes. They were able to create a high-quality basketball shoe at a premium price because of what it represented. However, with any popular item there would be many attempts to copy and steal ideas. The Jumpman logo has been copied a numerous amount of times and is still an issue today. Sometimes the differences between an authentic and fake shoes are not recognizable, which creates issues with the perception of the Jordan brand.
New Sneaker Every Season and Marketing
Every new season that Jordan played, a new shoe would get released. This always created new products and drove up sales. Demand for these shoes were increasing as well with the skyrocketing popularity of Michael Jordan. The 1992 men’s Olympic basketball team, most famously known as the “Dream Team”, pushed Jordan’s popularity to a global level. On the world stage the “Dream Team” dominated, and Jordan gained millions of new fans. His image and on-the-court consistency improved the popularity of the Jordan shoes.
Additionally, Nike released many television commercials centered on his shoes. Most famously, the ad with Spike Lee drives the appeal as he constantly states, “It’s gotta be the shoes!” Michael Jordan also used Gatorade and McDonald's to improve his marketing. “Be Like Mike” was an immensely popular slogan in the 1990's.
After Jordan’s retirement there was a dip in shoe sales. This was contributed to several factors:
- Younger fans did not identify with him as much
- Increasing competition from new talent such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry releasing their own lines of shoes
- New shoes were not being released
To combat competition, the Jordan brand began signing new basketball players such as Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson, and Jayson Tatum. They wanted to continue on their image and reputation of having consistent and dominant players represent their brand. The Jordan brand standardized their products and wanted the same message to be carried globally.
Additionally, the Jordan brand began to work in collaborations with popular companies such as Supreme, OVO, and Undefeated. They also began to release retro shoes which were re-releases of Michael Jordan’s older shoes but in new styles.