The Air Jordan III is one of the most important and memorable shoes from the Air Jordan line. The shoe had a new designer, new ad campaign, and literally broke the mold of the typical style basketball shoes worn in the NBA. The AJ III is one of the most iconic sneakers of all time. We saw Michael Jordan take flight from the free throw in the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest to claim victory over Atlanta Hawks superstar Dominique Wilkins. The two previous sneakers from the Air Jordan line started the hype around MJ’s kicks, but the AJ III took it to a whole new level. Here is a brief history about the Air Jordan III.
Nike gave the daunting task of creating the shoe to a new designer. Tinker Hatfield who used to be a corporate architect went into the trade of designing footwear. Hatfield, whose name is now synonymous with the Air Jordan, flipped the script on the standard blueprint for a basketball shoe. Most of the players played in high top sneakers, but Hatfield took a new approach by creating a mid cut sneaker. There was a visible Air unit in the back of the sneaker and the Air Jordan “wings” logo was taken off the shoe. The “wings” logo was replaced by the Jumpman logo which is the symbol for the Jordan line from Nike.
The sneaker also had full-grain leather on the top of it and gave it a broken in feel to it that Michael loved since the shoes felt like they were already broken in and were not stiff to play in even if they just came right out of the box. Tinker Hatfield gave the AJ III a new elephant print design on the front and back part of the sneaker.
Just as the AJ III had a new designer, Nike brought in Spike Lee to join the ad campaign. Lee created and played a character in one of his films “Do The Right Thing” called Mars Blackmon. Jordan and Mars had their first gig together selling sneakers. The ad campaign was a huge hit which helped Nike sell a ton of the Air Jordan III’s. The ad campaign was so successful that Nike had made MJ and Mars commercials to sell more sneakers from the Air Jordan line.
Along with a flashy new ad promotion and a designer was Jordan’s signature image of flying from the free throw line in the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest. One of the most famous posters of Michael is from that moment and he is rocking the AJ III. Winning that contest made him a back to back Slam Dunk Champion. That year while wearing those same kicks, Michael Jordan averaged 35 points a game which made him the scoring leader in league and with that he took home league MVP and Defense Player of the Year awards.