Kicksology 101: Air Jordan 'Revolution'

Air Jordan "Revolution" Sketch

People say Nike took off in 1985 with the release of the Air Jordan I. The company hit new highs with record breaking sales, controversy of the NBA banning the shoe from professional courts and of course, Michael Jordan's arrival into the league. Although Mike's career helped the brand get on it's feet, it wasn't until 1988, Nike really hit it's stride with the third Air Jordan, dubbed: The Air Jordan Revolution.

There are various reasons why I think the Air Jordan III did more for the company than any other Air Jordan in history - and one of those reasons is Tinker Hatfield.

Tinker Hatfield with sketches and Trainers and Huarache's

The late Rob Strasser (Ex-Marketing Exec for Nike Inc.) was the man responsible for bringing top young college prospect, Michael Jordan into Nike's office to discuss a temporary 2 year contract. With Mike, at the time, being a fan of Adidas (who shared top spots with Reebok), he was reluctant to comply and disliked the idea of him signing with a struggling Nike Inc. When shown the first model "The Air Jordan" (a Nike Dunk with a 'Wings' Logo), the man himself declared:

"I'm not wearing those. I'll look like a clown."

Peter Moore, the designer of the Air Jordan, convinced Mike to take the offer into consideration. And the more Michael looked at it, the more it grew on him. After a few test wears, stares in the locker room, and controversy surrounding it's colorways, Mike took the contract.

Although sales went through the roof for both the Air Jordan I and II, Peter Moore and Rob Strasser decided to leave Nike hoping to lure MJ with them. Jordan, still second guessing his decision with Nike and with his contract coming to a close in 1987, was ready to jump ship as well.

After the success of the Air Max and the multi-purpose Air Trainer, Nike appointed kitchen-designer Tinker Hatfield (Air Max 1, Air Trainer, Air Jordan III-XV, Air Zoom Generation) to take on the task of revolutionizing the Air Jordan line to try and convince Mike to stay. After spending hours with Moore and Strasser discussing future business, Mike was ready and willing to pick-up and leave with the people who put him in the marketing spotlight. It was later that sunny afternoon in California, where Michael reluctantly sat down to see what Tinker had come up with.

"Michael is in a really bad mood. You can tell he didn't want to be there."

A sample was made and was unveiled. Michael's face lit up and his attitude made a complete 180 degree turn in the boardroom. The shoe was complete with a full grain leather upper, multiple eye stays, visible air-sole unit, elephant print, and the first ever seen "Jumpman" logo.

"At that point, he realized the shoe was him. It was a part of who he was at that moment."

And with that statement by Tinker, the Air Jordan, at that moment, officially became a foreshadowing of the next 23 years for the brand. And counting. Tinker Hatfield developed a new found relationship with MJ and would design the next barrage of Air Jordans, including the most recent Air Jordan 2011 and the infamous Air Jordan XI.

Fast forward those 23 years, and the Air Jordan IIIs still remain ever so popular, having released multiple colorways in Retros and are still a staple in collections all over the world. This year in 2011, comes a retro that pays homage to the 1988 madness.

Paying homage to OG Air

Back by popular demand, the Air Jordan III in white/cement makes it's way back into the scene, since it's last retro release 10 years ago. This time, it's commemorative box and accessories makes this release one of the most sought after Jordan's of the past year.


The Jordan III comes fully OG'd up (with the exception of the Jumpman on the heel tab) in it's original colorway in white, cement gray, and fire red. Fully equipped with OG style box, tissue and Air Jordan brochure. To ice the cake, Jordan Brand included an Air Jordan hangtag a la '88. I would have prefered the Nike Air logo over the Jumpman, but we can't get everything we want now, can we?

Since 1994, the Air Jordan III Retro re-released it's original 4 colorways and also retro'd various versions of the shoe including pairs like the Cool Grays, Flips, Pures and a colorway inspired by the Spike Lee Joint "Do The Right Thing". Although the '80's version of the shoe retailed at a price of $100, you can grab this retro at a price tag of $160.

Here's some Air Jordan III love:

"Do the smurf, do the wop, baseball bat. Rooftop like I'm bringin' '88 back" - Nas

"The Jordan III was different from anything that had come before, and my life mirrored that fact"
- Michael Jordan


1 comment:

  1. Peter Moore created the jumpman logo, not Tinker Hatfield.