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Slam Vol. 4

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Slam is the fastest way to bring home the entire world of hoops from playgrounds to high schools, college and the NBA.

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United States
SLAM Media Inc.
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
the sixth man

I’m not sure if the Air Jordan I is my favorite sneaker. It’s definitely in that conversation—in the top 5, the Mt. Rushmore, the personal Hall of Fame—but I don’t know if it’s my Desert Island Sneaker, assuming the desert island I get washed onto has cell service for me to upload fit pics to Instagram. But I do know it’s the most important sneaker I own. (Er, sneakers. I’ve got a few pairs. Like…three. Fine—four.) (Seven.) I know it’s the most important sneaker I own because I know that the Air Jordan I changed the game as we know it. There were some signature sneakers before it—shouts to Clyde, forever—but they didn’t have the same influence the AJI did, and they didn’t revolutionize the way the public viewed athletes and the…

7 min.
introducing the icon

IN 1985, IT ARRIVED. The Air Jordan I, the sneaker that changed the world. Premium leather stitched to a cup sole that sat on top of a Nike Air bag. The shoe was made for basketball. But it’s an art piece now, a symbol that represents so much. Youth. History. Style. Innovation. Community. Winning. It’s been 33 years since the I dropped for $65. Thirty-three years since its spot at the top became unquestionable. How did it happen? How did the I become the silhouette that ignited an entire way of life, that allowed so many people to fall in love with sneakers and with basketball? THE JOURNEY BEGINS in Beaverton, OR, at the Nike World Headquarters in 1984. Phil Knight was set to go all-in on one player from the ’84 draft. There were…

4 min.
fly in

PETER MOORE HAD COME UP with an idea to “break the color barrier in footwear.” He decided to make a shoe that was primarily black and red, just about unheard of for basketball sneakers. That wasn’t enough, though. He still wanted another element to differentiate the Air Jordan I, one detail that nobody had ever seen before. A light went off for him. “[Nike Vice President] Rob Strasser and I are coming back from having a meeting with [Michael Jordan’s agent] David Falk,” Moore remembers. “We have decided that we’re gonna go after the kid. We’ve also decided, per David Falk’s suggestion, that we’ll call it ‘Air Jordan.’ “On the flight home I start thinking about what this logo would be,” he continues. “I’m walking into the plane and I see this little…

6 min.
change the game

WHEN MICHAEL JORDAN WAS DRAFTED into the NBA in 1984, he joined a rapidly changing league in a rapidly changing world. Five years earlier, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had carried their collegiate rivalry over into an NBA that had recently merged with the ABA. Along with star Julius “Dr. J” Erving, the NBA had gotten a big dose of high-flying athleticism as well as the ABA’s three-point shot. The 1981 NBA Finals would be the last shown on late-night tape delay. The ever-expanding fan base was ready for new stars, new champions—and a new shoe. FOR A KID IN 1984, THERE WAS SO MUCH TO DISCOVER: ATARI 2600S AND COMMODORE 64S, ESPN AND MTV, RUN-DMC AND LL COOL J. FOR NIKE, THE TIME COULDN’T HAVE BEEN BETTER TO INTRODUCE SOMETHING…

16 min.
23 flavors

1 “BRED” MICHAEL SAID THEY reminded him of the Devil. Black and red sneakers? It was too new, too much to process. But underneath the surface, underneath the mainstream’s frightened reaction, underneath the NBA’s (supposed) banning, the “Bred” Air Jordan I had a new generation of kids prepared to start a revolution. A cultural uprising was about to take flight. Most sneakers were made with white bases in the ’80s. There would be pops of colors here and there, maybe a green or a blue or a red. Black was the most common companion for the white uppers. Originality was seriously lacking. The OG AJI flipped that normalcy on its head. The “Breds” were a physical announcement, a loud representation of being different. It was time to stand out, just like the kid…

1 min.
throw a fit