If you’re a fan of Michael Jordan and his legendary sneakers, you need to see this Converse Jordan Collection. This is what could have been.
Legendary sports figure Michael Jordan is renowned for his incredible skills on the court, never-say-die attitude and the luxury basketball sneaker line that brought him fame and fortune. However, many don’t realize that his career and might have gone down a completely different path if he’d decided to sign with Converse or Adidas instead of Nike. We nearly didn’t have the iconic Air Jordan 1 or the Jordan Brand, for that matter.
Converse, who had their eye on signing Jordan, was the biggest player in the basketball sneaker market in the early 1980s. Plus, they already had an incredible roster of high-profile athletes, including Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, wearing their kicks. It only made sense that a young MJ considered their offer — especially since he was seen wearing Converse sneakers on the court before too. The promising rookie even took a meeting with the company when he had just been drafted by the Chicago Bulls.
At the time, Nike was a relatively small player in the sneaker market (they were way behind Adidas and Converse), and Jordan had zero interest in signing with them at all. Instead, he was leaning towards Converse and Adidas — especially the former, who had offered him a five-year deal worth $100,000 per year plus royalties.
However, things changed when Jordan and his family (including his mother, Deloris) met with Nike executives and designer Peter Moore. The team presented him with a bold and innovative sneaker design, the Nike Air Jordan 1, which featured a visible air unit in the sole and a striking black and red colourway (which was outlawed by then-NBA Commissioner David Stern for having very little white on them). Jordan taken aback by the design and the vision that Nike had for the shoe and ultimately, to the surprise of everyone, decided to sign with them instead of Converse and Adidas.
The rest, as they say, is history. The Nike Air Jordan 1 sneaker became an instant sensation, both on and off the court. The athletes loved it. Fans loved it. Kids loved it. Additionally, Jordan’s incredible performances on the court, combined with the iconic design of the sneakers, made them a must-have for basketball fans and sneakerheads alike. Today, the Air Jordan line remains one of the most successful sneaker brands of all time and continues to drop new colourways and designs 30 years later.
But what if Jordan had signed with Converse instead? What would have happened? What would their sneakers have looked like? And would it be as popular as the Jordans are today? It’s impossible to know for sure, but it’s likely that his career and the sneaker market would have looked very, very different.
Even though Converse was the dominant sneaker / shoe brand at the time, and its marketing power and resources would have propelled Michael Jordan to even greater heights, it was Nike’s unique design and its belief in the NBA star that made its sneakers special.
Ultimately, the decision to sign with Nike was a turning point in both Michael Jordan’s career and the future of Nike. The deal ultimately had a profound impact on the sneaker industry. That said, it’s worth remembering that things could have been very different if he had gone with Converse instead.
We asked AI to design a Converse Jordan sneaker based on the Converse sneakers he wore at the time and the Nike Air Jordan design (a mix of the two). The results were interesting.
The high-top Converse sneaker in a blue, red, and white colorway has a striking resemblance to the Nike Air Jordan 1. The upper portion of the shoe is predominantly white (unlike Nike’s first sneaker with the NBA star), made of a durable canvas material.
The toe box and heel counter are accented with white leather overlays that add a touch of sophistication to the design. The collar and tongue of the sneaker are primarily red, adding a pop of color to the overall aesthetic. The Converse logo is featured prominently on the side in blue or red, and there’s some form of branding printed on the heel and the tongue.
The sole of the sneaker is white, made of rubber and features a blue stripe on the outsole.
Of course, the reality is that it’s possible to actually know what a Converse Jordan sneaker would have looked like. This is just an AI’s guess. We doubt it would be anything as epic as the pair of sneakers Michael Jordan ended up wearing. And that’s exactly why the Jordan Brand remains at the top. They made history.