Air Jordan I
Year released: 1985
Designer: Peter Moore
Most Popular Colorways: Black/Red, Black/Royal, Black Toe, Chicago
First Retroed: 1994
To think, the first Air Jordan almost never even existed after Michael was so adamant that his agent get him a deal with adidas. Nike made it happen and the vision was to treat its new star like a tennis player, which at the time was the sport that had the best sneaker endorsements. The Air Jordan I wasn't changing the game with innovation at the time, but the Dunk-like silhouette was the perfect template to feature some of the best colorway combinations and please the eye aesthetically.
The Jordan I's $65 price tag at the time had people balking at grabbing a pair but NBA commissioner David Stern ended up being the one with the best "marketing plan" for the sneaker. After MJ stepped out on the floor in the infamous black and red Is that Mike himself said looked like the Devil's shoe, the NBA fined Jordan $5,000 every game he laced them up for failing to meet the uniform code. The sneaker ban built so much buzz around the shoe that Nike gladly paid each fine and eventually watched the money pile up. Nike had to make a secondary colorway that fit NBA guidelines. And all this before the shoe even hit the market.
Michael had some of his greatest moments in the Jordan I, including his 63-point playoff performance that had Larry Bird comparing Mike to God and also the '85 Slam Dunk Contest draped in two gold chains (2 Chainz!). 13 years later Jordan would break out his first kicks one last time in his Chicago farewell tour stop at Madison Square Garden even though he had outgrown the pair by a full size. King.