In honor of Michael Jordan's 50th birthday, ESPN has been running a series of specials celebrating the occasion. In the network's "Gotta Be The Shoes" segment, they take a closer look at the global phenomenon that is the NBA legend's shoes: the Air Jordans.
"Long ago, a shoe endorsement was the pinnacle of an athlete's commercial success. Then, Michael Jordan arrived and became the first athlete to be a 'brand,' " reads the clip's description. "After the first pair of Nike 'Air Jordan' basketball shoes rolled out, the former Chicago Bulls guard elevated his profile from superstar to transcendent, cross-over commercial icon. Now, almost 30 years since the first sneakers debuted and nearly a decade since Jordan retired as a pro athlete, his brand endures and continues to perpetuate his basketball legacy."
Jordan is widely considered the G.O.A.T. in basketball, but was it the shoes?