“Michael Jordan lost and scored only 16 points when he debuted the Air Jordan 1s”: When the Chicago Bulls rookie’s signature shoe launch was a disaster
Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan 1s are the most iconic basketball shoes in history but all was not smooth sailing when the shoe first debuted.
Michael Jordan has rarely ever faltered when trying something new. Whether it is an entrepreneurial venture or just basketball, he is blessed by the gods.
At least that’s what the stories will have you think. What if we told you that is not the case. What if we told you that during his rookie year, he had a miserable time trying to be the face of a brand.
Yes, the stories about Jordan and Nike are like fairy tales but the historians will never tell you that initially, they failed. Nike’s grand scheme of having Michael as the face of the brand nearly came crashing down.
How and why? Well, it all starts with Jordan’s decision to debut his shoes in a game against the 76ers.
36 Years Ago Today: Michael Jordan debuts his Air Jordan shoe in a game for the first time against Dr. J, Charles Barkley and the 76ers.
No one notices.
Jordan scores 16 points in a loss.
Below is one of the few pictures showing MJ’s feet. pic.twitter.com/awv1vnLZ5F
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 17, 2020
Michael Jordan and his Air Jordan 1 debut went as horribly as you can imagine!
The Air Jordan 1 silhouette today is perhaps the most recognizable basketball shoe in the world. But its debut was more than forgettable.
In fact, nobody actually remembers it. Yes, no one noticed the Air Jordan 1 when it debuted!
Firstly, MJ decided to debut the shoe in a game against legends such as Dr. Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, and the 76ers team. The Bulls went on to lose and MJ scored an abysmal 16 points.
Fun Fact: After a 4-17 shooting performance, MJ abandoned the Air Jordan for a month before returning to the shoes in December.
MJ went on to become an All-Star and win ROTY before the Air Jordan released that spring — selling $126M and shattering Nikes 4yr/$3M goal.
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) November 17, 2020
The showcase was so bad, that Michael and Nike decided to abandon the project for a month! But, they persevered through, and later he became an all-star and won ROTY.
The Air Jordan 1s hit the market in spring and Nike sold $126 million worth of shoes. Nike initially had a target of $3 million in 4 years.
The rest is history, Air Jordan 1s remains one of the most iconic shoes of all time.
— Old School 80s (@OldSchool80s) April 1, 2021