The True Story Behind The Forbidden Air Jordan 1

For sneakerheads around the world, the Air Jordan 1 is assumed to be the start for the sneakergame revolution. However, at its first days there was a disreputable story about the it – “The Banned Shoe” . Moreover , to memorize this event, 9,000 pairs with historic details were produced and released only at designated Nike outlets (approximately 160 pairs per outlet), under the name Air Jordan 1 “Banned”.

The True Story Behind The Forbidden Air Jordan 1
Air Jordan 1 High Retro – “Banned”

Nevertheless, the story of the NBA banned Air Jordan 1 that most of you have heard is only half of the truth. The fact is that the banned shoes are Nike Air Ships, not Air Jordan 1. Let’s Manarax tell you!

The Nike Air Ship Black / Red (Bred for short) – black and white below – is a Nike product produced in 1984, the Air base is similar to the Air Force 1, with no connection to Jordan Brand, People can google “Nike Air Ship” for more pictures, and as far as I know, the pair is not available in retro version.

As the Nike Air Force 1, the Air Ship was arguably Nike’s best basketball shoe at the time. Most of the Air Force 1’s design and technology were used on the Air Ship. The only difference was that Nike removed the neckband and added a piece of leather over the first three eyelets to reinforce the upper. Moreover, outsole had also have some details similar to the Air Jordan.

The True Story Behind The Forbidden Air Jordan 1

The story was that Michael Jordan’s first official match took place on October 26, 1984 and the Jordan’s contract with Nike also started from that time. However, Michael Jordan was busy playing for the US at the Olympics all the summer even considering signing for adidas. Nike had to prepare a completely new pair of shoes for Jordan but there were just a few short months left. This leaded to the appearance of Red/Black Air Ships at MJ’s match.

The True Story Behind The Forbidden Air Jordan 1

“It was a special occasion”, Peter Moore – creative director of Nike recalls, “They (Nike) put about 25 pairs just for him”. Then came the story Nike told: The NBA banned the black/red shoes. The reason was that, at that time basketball shoes were mostly white and the players wore shoes having the same color with the team. When Jordan broke the rules in the 1984, the NBA sent Nike a penalty. As been told, Jordan still wore these shoes and Nike suffered all the fine of $ 5000 a game.

You can easily find pictures of MJ in his first season, except for those he playing in black/red shoes. The only image of the Black and Red Air Jordan in the 1984-1985 NBA season was when Jordan joined the NBA Dunk Contest 1985, when the uniform regulations were not too tight.

The True Story Behind The Forbidden Air Jordan 1
MJ in The NBA Drunk Contest 1985

Until now, the fate of the first black and red Air Ships made for Jordan remains a mystery. Those 25 shoes that are actually banned by the NBA will be hunted the most by MJ’s tough fans. In the end, we can tell that it was not the Air Jordan banned by the NBA, what actually banned was the “black / red” color scheme in the Air Ships.

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