‘Superman Figure’: Famous Designer Reveals How Michael Jordan Inspired His Life

Published 07/08/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
Michael Jordan during Michael Jordan Hosts 2005 Jordan Classic Dinner – April 14, 2005 in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)


Michael Jordan is one of the biggest names in the game of basketball. Be it the iconic Bulls jersey, or the number 23, it is all reminiscent of Michael Jordan. However, his biggest impact has come from his shoe line, ‘ Air Jordan,’ with Nike. Even though he revolutionised basketball, his impact on the sneaker world is no less.

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The Jordan’s were released back in 1984. Notably, the red and white colorway of these shoes was outlawed by then NBA commissioner, David Stern, for having too little white in them. This is known as the ‘51% rule,’ which was repealed in the 2000’s.

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Now, in the modern era, top athletes don the Jordans. Players like Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Zion Williamson are a part of the Jordan family.

Moreover, his sneakers have reached outside the hardwood as well as they are one of the most famous shoes in the market right now. Clever collaborations and amazing designs have grown the Jordan shoe into the biggest sneaker tycoon.

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Virgil Abloh inspired by Michael Jordan

Virgil Abloh is the founder of famous brand ‘Off-White’ and has been the artistic director of menswear for Louis Vuitton since March 2018. In addition, Abloh is also a DJ and entrepreneur. He recently spoke about how it was Michael Jordan who inspired his life as a designer.

While speaking to The Undefeated, Abloh said that Jordan was his first fashion icon. He said: “They way that he put his style together was formally like a first fashion icon for me.”

Abloh went on to say that the Bulls red jersey and their practice jersey seemed to him like a superman cape. Abloh added that Jordans are the burst of the sneaker culture.

Notably, he is a huge fan of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. While speaking of Jordan, he said: “If your team is on a championship run and you have a superman figure names Michael Jordan, like the air is different.”

He also added- ” What he did on the court proved the impossible. In these shoes, in these levels of design gave him the confidence to succeed. Everything I was doing as a teenager, I was looking into the tv screen to sort of draw inspiration from Michael Jordan. If this guy is proving you can win with style and grace, by being determined and working hard I’m gonna literally apply that to my life as a designer. Distinctly, the Jordan 1 that I did, in my mind that completed the full circle. Michael Jordan has magic in those shoes. When you put those shoes on I don’t care what you are who you are, you felt like you could tap into Jordan himself.”

Virgil Abloh and Nike

Virgil’s first collaboration with Nike came in 2017, with the release of ‘The Ten’. The Nike X Off-White collaborations involved deconstruction of 10 iconic Nike shoes by Abloh himself.

Each shoe broken down would be rebuilt with a different design and rearranged components. ‘The Ten’ sold out, and this welcomed further demand for these shoes.

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One of the ten shoes Abloh designed is the Air Jordan 1’s. He was deconstructing Nike shoes since early 2017, but the collaboration was officially announced in August 2017. Abloh further designed the Air Jordan 5 as well.

Now, the Nike X Off-White shoes have a big market on its own. Jordans are one of the pioneers of the modern sneaker culture, and Nike don’t fail to impress.

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Anuj Talwalkar

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