MJ Mondays: Nike Air Ship

MJ Mondays. Everyone probably knows what it is; the wildly popular hashtag which started on Instagram and later found its way to Twitter, now covers the entire social media landscape. All sneaker enthusiast and sport inspired; the hashtag has taken on a life of its own. And with its popularity higher than ever, we found it only right as participants of it ourselves to expand upon it. After all that is what a blog is intended to do; expand, create and compel on a thought or idea or niche.

So we begin our first blog expanded installment of MJ Mondays with the beginning. While it is utterly known to the general public that the Air Jordan signature line is turning 30 this year…this series should provide endless content for us to dive into. Beginning of course in 1984-85 as we should. Before the days of the Air Jordan 1 which Michael did lace up his rookie season…there’s images of him in a somewhat mysterious other Nike Basketball model.

Yes, Michael wore other Nikes.

mj in nike air ship (2)A product of its era…the mysterious Nike Basketball model is known as the Nike Air Ship. What makes the model even more intriguing is the timeline of events that later play out. With the Air Jordan 1 being “banned” by David Stern and the NBA for violating the league’s uniform policy.

A staple of the 1980s…basketball models were built extremely high covering the entire ankle providing support and stylistically, a statement that you could get these buckets anywhere. The Nike Air Ship was a blend of the Nike Blazer and Nike Air Force 1; which released in 1972 and 1982 respectively. While it had no high strap anchoring the ankle, it did take the predominate leather construction. Which was later used on the Air Jordan 1.

But just as the Air Jordan 1 rose to prominence; the Nike Air Ship took a backseat to the first Jordan signature. And what makes the journey to the backseat even more boggling is that the Air Ship has rarely if ever, been known as MJ’s first shoe. A pattern we’ve seen with the Nike Total Air Foamposite Max and Tim Duncan in the later 1990s or even Tim Hardaway and the Nike Air Bakin…despite neither having solo signature ventures with Nike.

mj in nike air ship (3)

However if you do some digging you’ll find Jordan in the Nike Air Ship during his rookie campaign. Which begs the question…where does the Air Ship stand with Jordan Brand or even Nike 30-years since MJ first donned a Chicago Bulls uniform?

It clearly is not held in as high regard as the Air Jordan 1…and in some ways rightfully so. Since the Air Jordan 1 is the first signature to bear Jordan’s name. But just as we look at the Air Foamposite One and Penny Hardaway in conjunction to the Nike Air Penny 1. Or the Air Flight One or Air Go LWP since we’re drawing the parallels to Penny.

Michael certainly was not the only player to wear the Air Ship. So why are those subsidiary endorsed silhouettes celebrated as heavily for being attached to an particular athlete that wore them but not the Air Ship with Jordan Brand. Perhaps that was part of the separation of Jordan from Nike. While Jordan Brand is a whole-owned subsidiary of the Swoosh…the Air Jordan 2 removes visible Nike branding from its upper…minus the heel text. And the Air Jordan 3 features the Jumpman logo for the first time. Although the Nike Air heel is present from 1988-1991 across the Air Jordan 3, 4, 5 and 6.

The theory would indeed make sense seeing how Jordan is such an entity within himself that Jordan Brand would be regarded as the same exact thing because his name is attached. Thus making the Nike Air Ship just that….Nike’s. It is quite the conundrum when you give it deep thought. Or perhaps the roof is about to blown off as the Air Ship could make a return during the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan line.

No, it is not the Air Jordan 1…but it does have special ties to Michael which bridges the gap from his Converse days to the launch of his own signature in 1985. An Air Ship retro by Jordan Brand would speak volumes as opposed to a retro coming from Nike, despite the Swoosh’s branding because of the direct connection to Michael’s rookie season. The question begs to be answered. But perhaps…just maybe…Jordan Brand is already up to something…