For almost 20 years now the Jumpman has been selling sneakers, shirts, hats, socks, wrist bands, back packs, and anything else Nike could attach a Jumpman to. Giving consumers a piece of Michael Jordan’s incomparable legacy.
But this didn’t happen overnight…
Let’s travel back to 1984 and re-trace the path of the now Infamous Jumpman logo…
The Jumpman logo is actually a silhouette of studio photograph of Mike performing a ballet move, not an actual dunk as the image suggests.
Here’s part of an interview with HOOP Magazine from April of 1997 where MJ talks about the creation of the Jumpman Logo.
“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.”
But the actual Jumpman logo didn’t join the mix for another 3 years.
Fast forward to 1988…
MJ’s contract with Nike was about to end and Rob Strasser, Nike’s VP was in a power struggle with Nike CEO Phil Knight. Rob and Peter Moore, Nike’s head designer, were secretly hatching a plan to lure the GOAT away from Nike to their new sneaker company called Van Grack. Peter Moore originally did the preliminary design work on the Air Jordan III. He had a pile of sketches of the Air Jordan III but waited until it was too late to execute.
When he left Nike, Tinker Hatfield got the sketches and in amongst it were the outline of the Air Jordan Jumpman logo.
Since 1985, Nike sales have jumped through the roof and Phil Knight (Nike’s CEO) was not about to lose Mike that easily.
Once MJ saw that luxurious tumbled leather wrapped in elephant print with that big, beautiful, fire red Jumpman logo on the tounge, that was it. The Air Jordan III is arguably the most celebrated shoe in the history of the line and was the first to feature the iconic Jumpman.
Nike then attached Spike Lee to the ad campaign playing his endearing character Mars Blackmon and the rest is history.
By the end of Michael Jordan’s career with the Bulls, the Jumpman was strong enough live outside of the shadow of big brother Nike and Brand Jordan soared to new heights.