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A Brief History Of The Bred I's

Posted by Ross Dwyer at

One of the best Jordans ever is re-releasing this weekend.
The Bred I's, the shoe that was infamously "banned" from the court by the NBA is making a triumphant return this Saturday, September 3rd. 
You already know this. You've seen sneakerheads slobbering over the shoes on social media. You've seen the desperation in the eyes of your friends when they say they need a pair of these jawns. You've felt that slight pang of dehydration because you're thirsty for a pair yourself. We don't blame you one bit. Just look at them. They're beautiful.
But we're not here today to go on about the hype. We're here to hit you with the shoe's backstory. It's a fascinating one, with a bit of intrigue, a star personality, and some fantastic marketing (and a good amount of finessing) from one of the athletic world's biggest companies. It's not the story you think it is, so pay close attention.
It all started in the 1985 NBA season, when Michael Jordan was a fresh-faced, gold-chain-wearing rookie with the Chicago Bulls. He'd wanted to wear Adidas out of college (!) but had signed with Nike, as they had promised to put him at the forefront of their marketing campaign.
Michael actually wore a mysterious Nike shoe called the "Air Ship" in a black/red colorway for a large portion of his rookie season ... and THAT was the shoe that was "banned" by the NBA for an improper color way. There's no hard evidence that Michael actually wore the Bred I in an NBA game (and no, the dunk contest doesn't count). 
However, Nike saw a marketing opportunity and ran with it. "Fines" and "Banned" are buzzwords because they're taboo and signify something that's not allowed. The shoe that developed a cult following and started it all is still just as relevant more than 30 years later, and that's a true testament to great design and great marketing.We can only hope to find out how Nike was really able to roll out the "Banned" campaign one day. 
Good luck with the raffles this week. Keep a cool head, we know it can get stressful. Jawns are serious business.

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