Following a leak last week, Jordan Brand officially unveiled the Air Jordan XXI (31) on Wednesday (July 20), which pays tribute to the first Air Jordan 1 “Banned”.
When Michael Jordan’s first signature shoe arrived during his NBA rookie season, it came in a black and red colorway that violated the league’s uniform policy. As a result, MJ got a stern letter from league officials and received a $5,000 fine each time he wore the shoes on court. Despite the warning, he continued to wear them and Nike covered the fine, helping catapult sales of the iconic shoe.
“Around this time, if you knew anything about Nike… Nike stood on this kind of rebel behavior,” recalls Jordan Brand VP Howard “H” White. “This Jordan, that color of the Air Jordan I, kind of galvanized that universal scope.”
The Jordan 31 represents a balance of Jordan Brand’s tradition of game-changing performance and its transcendent style. It sports a first-of-its-kind Flyweave and leather upper, which incorporates a number of iconic Jordan elements, including the original “Wings” logo and a subtle Swoosh — not seen on a Jordan shoe since the Jordan 1 and first time it appears alongside a Jumpman logo. And launches in this “Bred” colorway, paying homage to the “banned” story.
The Air Jordan 31 “Banned” drops Sept. 3 at select retailers and online.