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Thirteen years. It's been that long since Michael Jeffrey Jordan last graced a NBA floor, and yet his name will be forever mentioned with reverence thanks to Air Jordan and Jordan shoes. The Wilmington, North Carolina, native’s legacy in professional basketball is cemented; the same can be said about his Air Jordan line – singlehandedly the most influential signature sneaker line ever. The story begins in 1985, when Nike released the Air Jordan 1. Designed by Peter Moore, inspired by the Dunk silhouette, Jordan’s inaugural shoe’s reign on top was shorter than Leprechauns. Banned. That was the NBA’s mandate, citing the black and red colorway as reprehensible by the league’s standard of players outfitted in simple black or white shoes. Its Italian-made successor, the Air Jordan 2, saw better results. But it wasn’t until 1988, when Nike designer Tinker Hatfield jumped on board to create the elephant-print clad Air Jordan 3, that the Air Jordan story really came together. Director Spike Lee was commissioned to make the kicks larger than life in an iconic run of television spots. During this time, MJ’s star was rising, as the Chicago Bulls proved to be viable NBA championship contenders. Things changed with the arrival of the ‘90s. Michael and the Bulls won three straight NBA titles; he retired in 1993 after the tragic death of his father to chase a career playing baseball; he returned to the game mid-season in 1995, winning another three consecutive championships between the 95-96 and 97-98 seasons. And while this was happening, Hatfield was there, creating the footwear Jordan wore each night – pushing the needle one innovative silhouette at a time. A cannon of sneakers that pushed the boundaries of design and branding, one that continues to embrace this generation's athletes under the Jordan Brand umbrella. Air Jordan is synonymous with innovation. From 1985 'til infinity.

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