Jordan Brand, a subdivision of Nike, was created by lifelong Swoosh athlete, Michael Jordan, in 1997. It started out as a way for Jordan to expand his image and brand. The Air Jordan 13, along with new silhouettes, dubbed “Team Jordans” were among the first releases from Jordan Brand. As JB was looking to expand, it signed its first athletes which included NBA stars Ray Allen, Vin Baker, Derek Anderson, Eddie Jones, and Michael Finley. It would then go on to expand its roster, not only for the NBA, but also across various sports with athletes such as Derek Jeter and Randy Moss, and collegiate teams such as the St. John’s, Cincinnati, and North Carolina A&T.
For the Air Jordan line, it all began in 1984 with the Air Jordan 1 and continues to this day with signature sneakers released annually, worn on-court by current Jordan Brand athletes. Air Jordan 1 through 12 were released under the Nike umbrella, while the Air Jordan 13 to present have been under Jordan Brand. In 1999, after Michael Jordan retired for the second time, Jordan Brand began retro-ing classic Air Jordans, starting with the Air Jordan 4. To date, Air Jordans 1 thru 23 have all been retro-ed at some point, although models 15 through 22 have only seen a handful of re-releases with the majority of them only happening in 2008 during the Air Jordan Collezione “Countdown” Pack series, which featured two Air Jordan’s packaged together which signature numbers when added together equals the number 23 (ie 1/22, 3/20, 6/17, 11/12).
While Michael Jordan finally stepped off the court professionally, for good in 2003, his presence is still felt today. A global phenomenon, Jordan Brand is a billion dollar brand, growing each and every year. Jordan’s cultural significance continues to grow and his status as the greatest basketball player of all time is cemented in history, as are his signature Air Jordan sneakers.