“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 

Jeet Pukhrambam
|Published 31/05/2022

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.

Also read: “Having $1 billion just means people can call and ask me for money”: Michael Jordan dispassionately broke down what it meant to be a billionaire

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.

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.


Also read: “No.45 Michael Jordan ain’t the same as No.23!”: When Nick Anderson trash-talked Bulls legend post-game only to regret it the next game


About the author
Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam is TheSportsRush's editor and creative writer. After freelancing for five years as an independent writer, Jeet has created thousands of blog posts and articles. He now covers intriguing news reports and throwback stories on all things NBA. His interest in NBA started with the ascendancy of Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2016-17 season. Since then, Jeet has managed to coalesce his knowledge of the game and his writing to create pieces that are reflective of the current state of the league. In his free time, he enjoys techno, football, cooking, and traveling. Jeet takes pride in his critical thinking, music playlists, and his love for spaghetti.

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