Prior to Jordan, tennis and golf pros were the only professional athletes with their own name-branded products. This was because they competed as individuals. Both Falk and Nike had such faith in Jordan as a player however, that they believed he deserved the same level of product endorsement despite being a basketball player. In 2018 a documentary produced by Los York Entertainment, a group that does advertising for Jordan Brand, entitled Unbanned: the Legend of AJ1, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film details the impact of these first Air Jordans with interviews from singers, rappers, fashion designers, journalists, actors, and even politicians. Transcending the many professional backgrounds of the interviewees was a passionate love of Air Jordans. “You have to respect how powerful that was to culture and to the world,” said comedian Jerrod Carmichael in the film.
The sneakers not only changed basketball footwear forever, but gave rise to the sneakerhead culture that runs rampant today. Although the original 1985 Air Jordan 1s only retailed for $65 at the time, they would run you upwards of $20,000 on StockX. Over the years, new Air Jordan drops have been so sought after that the shoes have been linked to crimes of assault, burglary, and even murder.
In recent years, Air Jordan’s value has only gone up with high fashion collaborations. Virgil Abloh’s exacto knifed rendition of the Air Jordan 1 speaks to its iconoclastic station because Abloh himself is consesiuer of only the most recognizable objects. From Ikea to Sunglass Hut and Evian water, Abloh touches that which seems untouchable, so normalized by their inescapable visual influence over pop culture. The Air Jordan’s high-top silhouette has that ubiquity.
The initial “Chicago” Off-White x Air Jordan shoe was dubbed Shoe of the Year by Footwear News and has since been followed up by an all white version, University of North Carolina colorway, black metallic Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 5, and cream colored Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 4.