The Return of the 'Banned' Air Jordan 1

Giancarlo Ferrari-King@@GiancarloKingFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2016

Credit: Nike

It's time to tell the truth. No more secrets. No more games. Just the truth.

It's time to talk about how the black-and-red Air Jordan 1 "Banned" wasn't actually forbidden by the National Basketball Association and its overlord commissioner at the time, David Stern, nearly 32 years ago.

The mystery surrounding perhaps the most famous Air Jordan sneaker has amalgamated itself into the shoe's allure. And on September 3, the "Banned" Jordan 1 will finally make its return.

Credit: Nike

Marvin Barias of Sole Collector turned into Jessica Fletcher on an episode of Murder, She Wrote, unwrapping the true story behind this piece of footwear. His findings revealed the actual sneaker Stern and the rest of the box-suited NBA barons laid the hammer down on was a custom pair of the Nike Air Ship—a shoe that hasn't seen the light of day since.

Because of its similar design, it became easy to confuse the Air Ship with the Jordan 1, especially as time blended together and Jordan's career flourished—he would go on to win Rookie of the Year at the conclusion of the 1984-85 season.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press/Associated Press/Associated Press

The legend grew despite the facts, giving Nike's PR machine a chance to strike gold with one simple commercial:

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From that moment, frozen in time, the Air Jordan 1 "Banned" was officially turned into the James Dean of footwear.

A convoluted backstory doesn't change the fact this sneaker pioneered Jordan's empire and turned Nike into a global basketball factory. A simple design, anchored by Peter Moore, was layered with provocative colorways, helping turn the Jordan 1 into a symbol of universal perfection.

Credit: Nike

Today, Nike has forged on with a saturation mentality in many aspects. Retro kicks are served up like hot cakes, diluting the worth. The "Banned" 1 is different. It's always been considered more of a limited run. Call it protecting the integrity of the brand.

To showcase its value, you need to head over to StockX—an online sneaker marketplace. StockX has pairs of the 2011 edition prodding around for $1,300. Those are Yeezy-type resale numbers.

Come September 3, the public won't have to pay absurd prices anymore for these grails. Jordan Brand and Nike are preparing to re-release the "Banned" 1, premium leather-grade materials and all, for $160.

Credit: NIke

In a year filled with gaudy Adidas releases, Stephen Curry performance shoes and a galaxy full of Nike retros, the Air Jordan 1 "Banned" has all the faculties to muscle its way to the top of the list.

Simply put, this shoe doesn't see the light of day often.

One sneaker. One word. One story. Even if the Nike Air Ship was the NBA's genuine piece of forbidden fruit, it's time to prepare for the return of something special. The Air Jordan 1 "Banned" is on its way back.

Credit: Nike


All production information via News.Nike.com unless noted otherwise.


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