Today In Sneaker History: Michael Jordan Debuts the Nike Air Jordan

Today in 1984, a young man by the name of Michael Jordan took the court for the Chicago Bulls. Of course, MJ had played in 10 regular season games for Chicago before this point but November 17, 1984 was special.

While the stories of banned shoes have always been hazy and mysterious, and one of MJ’s non-signature models being the model that was likely “banned” by the NBA, the beginning of the Air Jordan legacy has been something debated by sneaker enthusiasts for years.
Michael Jordan debuts the Nike Air Jordan for the first time.

According to people within the Chicago Bulls organization, Michael Jordan laced up the Nike Air Jordan for the first time against Dr. J and the Philadelphia 76ers on this day in 1984. Being that the game was a home game in Chicago, the Air Jordan’s debut came in the colorway known as the “Chicago” colorway.

Unfortunately, Jordan didn’t have a game worth remembering. In fact, he had one he’d likely wish to forget. MJ went 4-for-17 from the field, scoring 16 points. The Bulls would end up losing to the 76ers, 109-100.

As for the Air Jordan 1, it was just one game that MJ wore the shoe initially, opting to go back to the Nike Air Ship that he had been playing in up until this point. It wouldn’t be until December 20, 1984 that Michael Jordan would once again lace up the original Air Jordan, but that would give us all plenty of time to fall in love with the shoes before they released in the spring of 1985.

That said, is today the most important day in sneaker history? It very well could be.

Michael Jordan debuts the Nike Air Jordan for the very first time.

Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with 10 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector and Sneaker News. He's an avid San Francisco Giants fan, Allen Iverson fan, and owns way too many sneakers for his own good.