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The 80 Greatest Sneakers of the '80s

13. Nike Air Jordan II

Year Released: 1987

When Michael Jordan signed with Nike out of the University of North Carolina, one of the things that sold him — and his agent, David Falk — was that his would be a new kind of deal, establishing “Michael Jordan” as the brand as much as Nike. The ball and wings logo was part of that, as was the whole line of apparel that tied into the first Air Jordan. But the second shoe, which didn’t appear until his third season, was truly different. An Italian-made shoe that shared nothing with the first except the ball and wings logo, the Air Jordan II eliminated Nike’s signature Swoosh entirely from the upper. It was a bold gamble, but as it turned out, Michael Jordan’s name would do quite well, thank you.

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