One of the most known collaborations in the world is the Michael Jordan x Nike collaboration. The brand has a long history dating back to 1984, filled with success and special edition sneakers. The brand’s iconic Air Jordan logo the ‘Jumpman,’ graces many sneakers and other clothing and accessory lines. Even though the brand is very popular, it faced a lot of court meetings and controversies. Now, let’s dig into the Air Jordan logo history!
Air Jordan Logo: Origin
Air Jordan became a staple in the sneaker industry, and it has one of the longest-standing success rates in sneaker history. The Air Jordan logo’s history dates back to 1984 when Nike launched the first AJ ever! Of course, back then the logo did look a bit different than what we know now.
But this doesn’t deny the fact that Air Jordans have always been sneakerheads’ main target. And now the brand is treated as a seal of approval from the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan himself.
What Does The Air Jordan Logo Represent?
So, the Air Jordan logo represents a silhouette of the famous basketball player, Michael Jordan, leaping towards the net wearing his custom Nike sneakers. The logo was dubbed the ‘Jumpman’ to remind people of the skills that the basketball player possesses.
The Logo Vault: Wings Or Jumpman?
Believe it or not, the iconic Jumpman logo was not the first Air Jordan logo. Before Nike designed the famous logo, they created another one to mark the beginning of the Michael Jordan era.
Air Jordan Wings Logo
The first Air Jordan logo gracing the Js was the Air Jordan Wings. The story behind this logo was that the brand was playing off of the aviation theme of the Jordan name. One of the first marketing campaigns for the Air Jordan brand featured many photoshoots of Michael Jordan on an airport runway with tag lines like ‘take flight.’
The debut of this particular logo was on the Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan 2, designed by Peter Moore and Bruce Kilgore, inspired by the flight badges worn by pilots. The official debut date for this logo was January 25, 1985. A special feature on the Air Jordan 1’s hangtag was a picture of Michael Jordan doing the famous Jumpman pose.
The Jumpman Logo
First featured as a hangtag photo, the Jumpman pose was in for a treat. In 1985, Michael Jordan was not happy with Nike’s initial creations so they brought in Tinker Hatfield to work with Jordan on new sneaker designs. Tinker’s Jumpman logo first appeared on the Air Jordan 3. The AJ3 was the first mid-cut basketball shoe, it was the first to include a lifestyle texture of elephant print, and it was the first to feature Nike’s Air unit in a visible manner. The Jumpman made its debut on the tongues of these shoes in 1988.
The Air Jordan Logo Lawsuit
Even with its popularity, the Air Jordan logo was subject to a very famous lawsuit. The thing is that Nike didn’t entirely create the photo for the famous Jumpman logo. It was famously featured in a Nike photoshoot with Michael Jordan wearing a pair of custom Nike sneakers.
“I wasn’t even dunking on that one. People think that I was.
I just stood on the floor, jumped up, and spread my legs and they took the picture.
I wasn’t even running.
Everyone thought I did that by running and taking off. Actually, it was a ballet move where I jumped up and spread my legs.
And I was holding the ball in my left hand.”
Michael Jordan interview in HOOP Magazine (1997)
In January 2015, photographer Jonas Linder sued Nike, claiming copyright infringement over the use of the Jumpman logo. He claims that he had only granted Nike temporary permission to use the logo which they took advantage of. Linder took dates back all the way to 1984 when Michael Jordan had a photo session with ‘Life Magazine’ when they took pictures of him doing his iconic pose for the first time wearing Nike shoes. However, the suit was brought to a federal court in Portland, Oregon, and was later dismissed in June of that year.