The one that started it all – the still relevant Air Jordan 1 paved the way for the success of all of the signature shoes you see today. The shoe is infamously known for being banned by the NBA for having too much red, which diverged from the typical black and white dress code. Over the years, many have suggested that the Nike Air Ship was the first Jordan-worn style that was banned, both red shoes had the notoriety that served as a symbol of rebellion in 1984. The league later sent a letter dated February 25, 1985 that prohibited Michael from wearing the “certain red and black NIKE basketball shoes.”
Despite the warnings, MJ continued to wear the shoes with Nike footing the $5000 per game fines as a marketing expense. Nike would later play on the sneaker ban in their commercials:
The rest was history as Nike would go on to sell more than $55 million of the Air Jordan 1 in the first year. Those numbers changed the perception of the signature athlete and signature shoes, with shoe companies signing pros to this day to try to capitalize on the athlete’s ability and visibility.