Thursday, January 10, 2008


High-ass shoes!! It's gotta be the shoes, right? No other basketball shoe has changed the face of business, athletics and marketing like the Air Jordan. This month, Nike releases the 23rd edition, and it is expected to be just as venerated as its predecessors. The Air Jordan XX3 will be released in three hyped-up rounds from January to February, starting with a limited edition to be sent to only 23 retailers to be sold for $230 and concluding with the national launch at $185. There had been talk at Nike about retiring the shoe at No. 23, because of his iconic jersey number. But company officials won't say whether this will be the last of the line. Neither will Jordan. "You'll just have to wait and see," Jordan said in an e-mail to The Associated Press, responding to questions about the upcoming release.

Jordan said he never expected that the shoe would become an icon. "Like every kid growing up, I dreamed of making winning shots at the buzzer and I was fortunate to live out that dream, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever entertain the idea of the success of the Air Jordan franchise," he said. And the Air Jordan remains the pinnacle piece for shoe collectors. The original Air Jordan 1 can sell for thousands of dollars, depending on various factors. "It blows my mind that even after five years removed from the game the shoe would be stronger than ever and I would still be greeted by fans as if I had just won a championship all over again," Jordan stated.


Before launching the first shoe in 1985, Nike had just signed Jordan for $2.5 million over five years. Nike won't say what Jordan's current contract with the company is worth. Jordan's deal with Nike opened the door for sneaker manufacturers to chase after athletes, signing them up --sometimes just out of high school-- for multimillion-dollar contracts in hopes of being able to cash in on the next superstar. It sent sneaker prices to new heights, which has since generated a backlash against selling pricey shoes to basketball-loving kids. "Nobody expected the mass hysteria created by its release," Jordan said in his e-mail to The AP. A new edition was launched each year, and release dates had to be moved to the weekends to keep kids from skipping school to get a pair. The frenzy got dangerous. People were mugged and even killed for the shoes.

Like any bet, athletic companies take their risks -- some pay off, like Tiger Woods or LeBron James. But some don't, a la Michael Vick. Nike terminated its contract with Vick last August after his plea agreement on dogfighting charges. Jordan was spun off into its own division in 1997, a move that some high up in Nike questioned when Jordan retired. But the business is a key component, with new players signing on under the brand. Nike has spun that Jordan swagger into performance and luxury apparel for men and woman.


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Template Designed by Douglas Bowman - Updated to Beta by: Blogger Team
Modified for 3-Column Layout by Hoctro