Tap In: The History Behind The First Air Jordan

The Air Jordan 1 as we know it, was built after Micheal Jordan rejected Nike. Jordan’s favorite shoe to ball in during college was Converse’s Chuck Taylor, a shoe that no one would dream of seriously playing in today. But Jordan loved the shoe and wanted to sign with Converse as his career in the NBA began.

Nike pressured Jordan hard, going as far as to ask his parents to drag him to Nike’s campus in Beaverton, Oregon. The pitch from Nike was straight forward: they were going to create a whole brand around Jordan, push him forward as the face for the brand, and make his wildest dreams come true. But Jordan wasn’t convinced.

Jordan did not like the shoes – At the time the soles were too thick, he couldn’t feel the court under his feet. Nike capitulated on that point, it was an easy change for them to make. So they did, and the Air Jordan 1 was born.

Peter C. Moore, Nike’s Creative Director, was tasked with designing Jordan’s first shoe. Jordan offered advice to Peter along the way. He was looking for something that was innovative, exciting, and different from what he had seen on the court.

After some tweaks, Jordan still hated the shoe, saying he did not want to look like a “clown” but after more minor tweaks, time, and convincing from his family, the Air Jordan 1 was born in 1985.