The world is collectively anticipating the 5-week event that will be ESPN's early airing of the documentary "The Last Dance," which chronicles Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls' sixth and final (to date) championship season in 1997-98. With so much excitement in the air, basketball enthusiasts are seeking out even more than the usual healthy amount of Bulls and Jordan-related content that typically makes rounds, spawning opportunities such as Darren Rovell's recent sitdown (at a social distance) interview with famed Jordan agent David Falk.
During the interview, Rovell asked Falk about the Air Jordan line and how it got its name. Falk explains that he preferred Jordan sign with Nike, while his client was leaning toward Adidas. As Falk negotiated potential deals, he pushed for Nike to treat Jordan like a tennis player and create a brand of shoes and clothing around him. Former Nike executive Robert Strasser was open to the idea, but there was one hang-up—Nike wasn't sold on Falk's idea of a name for the line.
Can’t wait. Here’s how the “Air Jordan" nickname was coined by MJ's agent David Falk pic.twitter.com/po2g4imTzE— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 19, 2020
Falk wanted to call the line "Michael Jordan," but Nike didn't believe that a 21-year old Jordan had enough marketing credibility to have a signature line bearing his full name. So, Falk was asked to come up with an alternative, and almost on the spot he pitches "Air Jordan."
"Air because Nike's just developed these new running shoes that have an Air technology that’s supposed to cushion your feet, and it’s a double entendre in the way Michael plays basketball—in the air," said Falk when asked why.
Within 5 minutes, designer Peter Moore sketched the famous winged Air Jordan logo and the rest is sneaker history. Jordan Brand is now a $3+ billion dollar annual business.