It was the simplest of commercials: a single shot, panning from top to bottom, ending with a new logo. The messaging was simple, too, delivered in voiceover: “On September 15th, Nike created a revolutionary new basketball shoe. On October 18th, the NBA threw them out of the game. Fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them. Air Jordans from Nike.”

This was all true—to a point. The NBA had banned Michael Jordan from wearing a black-and-red shoe, similar to the new ones that were covered by black bars in the commercial. But they weren’t Air Jordans—those came later. Jordan started the season in a black-and-red version of an entirely different shoe: the Air Ship. This is their story.