by Brandon Richard
Earlier this week, Jordan Brand previewed the "Poster Collection," which includes new colorways of Air Jordans 2 and 12 inspired by vintage Michael Jordan Nike posters. The collection will make its retail debut next spring.
It could be argued that Jordan is the quintessential poster athlete. His unprecedented combination of athleticism and flair made for dunks that were somewhat artistic in nature, like he was posing for photos in mid-air. Every kid who wanted to be like Mike had a poster of his tacked to the wall and dreamed of being able to have one of his or her own someday.
In the spirit of the upcoming poster-inspired Air Jordans, here's a rundown of the 30 Best Michael Jordan Nike Posters of All-time.
30. Return Flight
This poster was fairly simple, but that's all it needed to be. Michael Jordan had officially returned, ready to make history in his greatest signature sneaker.
29. Play Ball
One could probably count the number of athletes with official posters of them playing multiple professional sports on one hand. Jordan's unexpected retirement from the NBA in 1993 was a blow for Nike, but they continued to market him while he struggled on the diamond.
28. Slam Dunk
In the Flight Club era, Michael Jordan went reverse Jumpman in what would go on be his first championship sneaker.
27. Do You Know?
Nike turned Mars Blackmon's catchphrase into a factoid about Michael Jordan's hangtime years before ESPN's Sport Science.
26. Great Moments in Flight
According to this poster, Michael Jordan is responsible for nearly half of the greatest moments in flight.
The free-throw line dunk is the lasting image from the '88 contest, but MJ's leaning windmill was quite a visual itself.
24. No Bull
There may not be a better trio than Jordan, Pippen and Rodman from the Chicago Bulls' second three-peat. This poster captured the intensity of the team that won 72 games.
23. Wing It
Nike promoted the Air Jordan 2 with the tagline "Imagination." Playing on that idea, they rolled out the "Wing It" poster, which referenced Michael Jordan's spontaneity in the air and the shoe's logo.
22. A Death-Defying High-Flying 360 Slam Dunk
After Michael Jordan revolutionized the slam dunk in the Air Jordan 3, Mars Blackmon imagined all possibilities when the Air Jordan 4 was launched.
21. Welcome to Sunny Portland
When arriving at the sneaker capital of the world, travelers don't have to go far for a fresh pair of Nikes. In fact, they can be purchased at the airport, and this Jordan poster was staged at PDX as a reminder.
Foreshadowing a certain animated movie, Michael Jordan's efforts in aerospace began when he first linked up with the Looney Tunes years earlier.
19. Look, Up in the Air
Not a bird, not a plane. Just Michael Jordan being more photogenic than any athlete in history.
18. Art of the Dunk
Like a lot of Michael Jordan posters, "Art of the Dunk" showcased his dunking prowess, ending in the Jumpman pose.
Before there was Kazaam, Mars Blackmon summoned Little Richard as the Genie of the Lamp to help him fly.
16. I've Failed...
Crediting failures for his success not only made for another great Jordan poster, but it's arguably his most famous inspirational quote.
Michael Jordan had a way of making dunks look artistic. The "Imagination" poster showcased how graceful he was from every angle.
After elephant, there was the cement-printed Air Jordan 4, which seemed right at home on the pavement and next to graffiti-painted brick walls.
13. The Master
Now more cerebral than aerial, Michael Jordan was featured on "The Master" as a dribbler in his element. The lines on the poster were reminiscent of the sun ray panels on the Air Jordan 12.
12. The Best on Earth, The Best on Mars II
After moving on from Mars (Blackmon), Michael Jordan took on an inhabitant from Mars (Marvin the Martian).
11. Is It The Shoes?
In one of the all-time great marketing angles, Michael and Mars once convinced the world that the gift of flight was because of "the shoes."
10. Sky Jordan
Also the name of the original kids' Air Jordan, Sky Jordan beautifully captured the grace of His Airness and the cleanest colorway of the Air Jordan 7.
9. Wings 20th Anniversary
For the Jordan Brand's 20th Anniversary, MJ recreated his iconic "Wings" poster, but in reverse and covered in tattoos that were also the laser print on the Air Jordan 20.
8. The Best on Earth, The Best on Mars
With Michael Jordan re-committed to Nike and wearing his most innovative sneaker to date, they brought in Spike Lee as "Mars Blackmon," a character that debuted in Lee's 1986 film She's Gotta Have It. The chemistry between Jordan and Spike was undeniable and the history created by the two started here.
The "Royal" Air Jordan 1 is a shoe that most people have never seen Michael Jordan actually wear. However, it did hit the runway along with an awesome matching tracksuit for this rare poster.
One of the greatest Michael Jordan photos ever taken, "Playground" took the new face of the NBA back to where it all began — the blacktop. Kids in the photo represented the dream every youngster had at the time.
5. 6 Rings
Michael Jordan is the standard by which all players are measured, and his 6 championship rings are tops for the modern era. When he called it quits for the second time, this portrait was a statement of his excellence.
4. Hare Jordan
Twenty-four years later, this poster is back in the spotlight as Jordan Brand celebrates its 30th Anniversary with the return of Bugs Bunny. The Jordan x Looney Tunes partnership debuted in 1992 and helped marry Michael Jordan to pop culture. It would eventually lead to the movie Space Jam, the highest grossing basketball movie of all-time.
There probably isn't a Jordan fan that didn't have this tacked on the wall growing up. "Wings" was a poster for anybody who dared to dream. Flight is possible and Michael Jordan was the proof.
2. Free Throw Line
The duel between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins had a little bit of everything. The two best dunkers of the era going head-to-head, power, style, innovation, a little home cooking and a dramatic finish. Jordan closed the show with this picture perfect free throw line dunk, which clinched the win and will go down as his defining slam.
1. Jumpman (The Air Jordan Has Landed)
The top 3 posters on this list are pretty much interchangeable, but it's hard to argue against the poster that has come to define Michael Jordan's brand and the Air Jordan line. The almost perfectly symmetrical pose is one of the world's most recognizable logos, helping establish Jordan Brand as its own entity in 1997. Earlier this year, this exact photo was printed on the side of the Air Jordan XX9, bringing the campaign full circle. It's origin may be up for debate, but it's impact can't be questioned.