“The backboard that Michael Jordan shattered in an exhibition game gave the sneaker world an incredible story to tell” – Throwback to the time when His Airness decided to throw down in Italy

Arun Sharma
|Published 24/02/2022

Not many Non-OG colorways are openly accepted in the sneaker world. But the AJ1 ‘Shattered Backboard’ worn by Michael Jordan is an exception.

Any sneaker with the name of Michael Jordan attached to it sells like hotcakes. When it comes to Air Jordan 1’s anything sells. Back in 2015 Nike decided to honor MJ’s incredible feat of shattering a backboard while he was on tour in Italy. Playing in the colors of orange black and white, the then-sophomore Jordan took the basketball scene in Europe by storm.

Already a household name in the states, Jordan set out to be a global phenomenon. He achieved just that, by showing out in Italy. Playing for the Stefanel Trieste, Jordan scored a quick 30 points against Juve Caserta. While people were in awe of his skills there, the highlight of the night was the dunk that shattered the backboard.

Not too many players have ever broken a board apart from Shaq a few years later. Nike went on to release a color blocking of that iconic night on its 30th anniversary. The sneaker world lapped it up and the value of it has never gone down since.

The quality of the material, the story behind it, and in general the most sought-after silhouette meant that Nike had a slam dunk as ferocious as the one that broke the board all those years ago.

Also Read: “Mike Bibby has Alabama in a chokehold!”: Official fan merch partner Lids releases an interesting graphic of the top-selling jerseys for the 2021-22 season

The Sneaker world is a fickle place – the same story that tasted great success with its first two iterations bombed with the third

Every emerging sneakerhead looks to the Air Jordan line-up to start the collection. A lot of the younger ones gravitate towards the usual hype like the Travis Scotts, the fragments, the original black and reds. But there is one story that people generally overlook, and that is how the Shattered backboard came to be. To a regular person, it is just an orange and black shoe, but to people who know, it is much more than that.

The Shattered backboards in their first two iterations tasted immense success. They sell for huge amounts on the resell market. The third however tanked. The idea behind the sneaker was great. It was the closest in terms of representation of what happened that summer. The crinkled patent leather symbolized the breaking of glass, and as an idea it was great. However, in terms of wearability, it did not bring the same level of hype the other two did.

Every manufacturer knows the importance of a story that is behind a regular commodity like shoes. They are a necessity, but how do you make people buy more of something so commonplace? This is the reason why big companies bring in artists and athletes to cross collaborate. Even with a great story like the shattered backboard, the sales did not match the hype since the execution did not bring out what the other two had so effectively done.

Also read: “The Air Jordan 1 banned has the best backstory for any professional athlete!”: Michael Jordan’s first signature shoe caused a big controversy when it was launched, continuing to remain relevant to this day

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About the author
Arun Sharma

Arun Sharma

Arun Sharma is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. A double degree holder and a digital marketer by trade, Arun has always been a sports buff. He fell in love with the sport of basketball at a young age and has been a Lakers fan since 2006. What started as a Kobe Bryant obsession slowly turned into a lifelong connection with the purple and gold. Arun has been an ardent subscriber to the Mamba mentality and has shed tears for a celebrity death only once in his life. He believes January 26, 2020, was the turning point in the passage of time because Kobe was the glue holding things together. From just a Lakers bandwagoner to a basketball fanatic, Arun has spent 16 long years growing up along with the league. He thinks Stephen Curry has ruined basketball forever, and the mid-range game is a sight to behold. Sharma also has many opinions about football (not the American kind), F1, MotoGP, tennis, and cricket.

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