The Air Jordan 3 is not only one of the most popular sneakers of all time but also a cultural icon. It has been worn by countless celebrities and athletes and has even been featured in movies and TV shows. However, the Air Jordan 3 almost never made it to production. In fact, it was almost the end of the Air Jordan brand as we know it. Let's take a deep dive into the history of the Air Jordan 3 and explore how it overcame adversity to become an all-time classic.
The Beginning of the End
In the late 1980s, the Air Jordan brand was struggling. Sales of the Air Jordan 2 were lackluster, and Nike was considering canceling the Air Jordan line altogether. It was then that legendary designer Tinker Hatfield stepped in to save the day.
Tinker Hatfield: The Savior of the Air Jordan Brand
Tinker Hatfield was a former pole vaulter for the University of Oregon who had joined Nike as a corporate architect. He had no experience designing shoes but was given the task of designing the Air Jordan 3. Hatfield took inspiration from Michael Jordan's love of luxury cars and created a sleek and stylish sneaker with a visible air unit in the heel. The Air Jordan 3 was an instant hit and reignited interest in the Air Jordan brand.
The First Jumpman Logo
Another important milestone in the Air Jordan 3's history was the creation of the Jumpman logo. The Jumpman logo, featuring Michael Jordan in mid-air, has become one of the most recognizable logos in the world. It was first introduced on the Air Jordan 3 and has since been a staple of the Air Jordan line.
The Sneaker That Almost Wasn't
Despite the success of the Air Jordan 3, it almost never made it to production. Nike was still on the fence about continuing the Air Jordan line, and the Air Jordan 3's high production costs were a cause for concern. It was then that Tinker Hatfield stepped in once again to save the day.
The Elephant Print
Tinker Hatfield came up with a clever solution to reduce the production costs of the Air Jordan 3: he added a print to the sneaker's upper that would cover up any imperfections in the leather. That print was the now-iconic elephant print, which has become synonymous with the Air Jordan 3.
A Sneaker Legend is Born
The Air Jordan 3 was finally released in 1988, and it was an instant success. Fans loved the sleek design, visible air unit, and elephant print. The Air Jordan 3 was also the first Air Jordan sneaker to be released in a "retro" version, which further cemented its iconic status. The retro version of the Air Jordan 3 has been released numerous times over the years and is always met with huge demand.
The Legacy of the Air Jordan 3
The Air Jordan 3's impact on the sneaker industry cannot be overstated. It was the sneaker that saved the Air Jordan brand and set the stage for countless other iconic sneakers. It also helped to popularize sneaker culture and showed that sneakers could be both stylish and functional.
The Air Jordan 3 in Pop Culture
The Air Jordan 3 has been worn by countless celebrities and athletes over the years, including Spike Lee, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, and Kobe Bryant. The sneaker has also appeared in movies like Do The Right Thing and The Game Plan and TV shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Entourage. The Air Jordan 3's impact on pop culture is a testament to its enduring popularity and cultural significance.
The Air Jordan 3's Influence on Sneaker Design
The Air Jordan 3's design has also had a lasting impact on the sneaker industry. The visible air unit and sleek design have been copied by countless sneaker brands over the years. The elephant print has also been used by other brands, although it remains most closely associated with the Air Jordan 3.
FAQs about the Air Jordan 3
- What is the Air Jordan 3?
The Air Jordan 3 is a sneaker designed by Tinker Hatfield for the Nike-owned Air Jordan brand. It was first released in 1988 and has since become an iconic sneaker and cultural icon.
- Why is the Air Jordan 3 so popular?
The Air Jordan 3's popularity is due to its sleek design, visible air unit, and iconic elephant print. It was also the sneaker that saved the Air Jordan brand from cancellation and helped to popularize sneaker culture.
- Who has worn the Air Jordan 3?
The Air Jordan 3 has been worn by countless celebrities and athletes over the years, including Michael Jordan himself, Spike Lee, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, and Kobe Bryant.
The Air Jordan 3 is not just a sneaker, but a cultural icon that has had a lasting impact on the sneaker industry and popular culture. From its near cancellation to its enduring popularity, the Air Jordan 3 has overcome adversity and become a symbol of style, innovation, and resilience. As the Air Jordan brand continues to evolve, the Air Jordan 3 remains a timeless classic that will always hold a special place in sneaker history.