Rare Pic of MJ in a Rare Shoe

Sep 14, 2004
I collected pics of MJ from his sophomore year at UNC through most of his NBA career. I have one very unique picture. Most everyone has seen pics of him early in his rookie season, wearing the white/red Air Ship, with a cut slightly lower than the retail version (below, A.).

But he wore, for a very brief time obviously, a black/red version of the Air Ship with a slightly higher cut and a different outsole (below, B.). I'm sure this shoe drew a fine just like the black/red Air Jordan eventually did. But what I find most interesting about this picture/shoe is that it's the only image I have ever seen of him wearing this shoe. And since it's not a color photo, I'm only assuming that the shoe black/red (a safe assumption, I reckon).

HERE'S MY QUESTION: Does anyone out there have another picture of MJ wearing this shoe? If so, I would like to see it.


If I'm not mistaken, Michael wore the Air Ships for the first half of his Roookie season. However, those black ones in the last pic don't look like the Air Ships. They actually look more like one of those recent Footlocker exclusive Nikes. But that's besides the point. My guess? Air Ships.
Word? Word.
Nice topic. Ok here's another question anybody have an actual pair of the Air Ships and how much of a different cut does the retail one have vs the one Jordan has on?
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Here's a couple more pics from Getty Images.



Here's MJs First Pro Sports Illustrated cover.


I found these on a Japanese website:
Def... Jordan's player sample is a lower cut then the retail.










The all white version of the Air Ships.







And the First Pro Cover of Jordan in the White/Red Air Ships against the Bucks is dated December 10th 1984. I figured it was from the Bucks vs Bulls game on Nov 21st 84

The images above with the all white Air Ships were taken on Nov. 30th 1984 against the LA Clippers.

It's possible that Jordan wore the White/Red Air Ships first then switched to the All White ones for alittle while in Dec/Jan or maybe he switched back and forth?..

According to Getty image Archives: Jordan had the Red/White/Black pair on Jan 1st 1985 against the Washington Bullets, ? which by my sources the Bulls didn't play the Bullets until January 30th.

Feb. 10th 1985 NBA All Star Game. During the Dunkoffs Jordan wore the Black/Red AJ 1s and the regular Red/white/black pair during the game.

No Pics of the Black version...come to think of it, I haven't seen the Banned version AJ1 Black Reds..in a game photo as well. Anybody?

Can anybody add to this Timeline?


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I've got a great wall poster from his rookie year of him wearing white/red Air Jordan Is that look a lot like those Ships.
The pics at the top, not air ships the other black ones, don't they look like those 20 collection charles barkleys!
Man... that is classic... Wonder if anybody has those PE's.....
EST. 2005
Rookie of the Year
The black/red Air Ships in the b/w photo have a different sole than the white versions. The medial side is cut away, to expose the midsole. (It would be interesting to know what that midsole was made of. In the early to mid 80s, would it have been EVA? I don't know.)

Also note the colored (likely red) strip under the toe and the dot under the ball of the foot. I agree with XMaNnyX that was likely an Air Jordan prototype---not interms of design, but in terms of how they were planning to colorblock it. The upper is definitely an Air Ship.

The white/red Air Ships that MJ wore, aside from being lower cut than the retail version, also have a different outsole than the retail version. You can tell this most easily where the red rises up at the toe. MJ's white/red Air Ships actually look like they have what will be the eventual Air Jordan outsole. It does not have the concave area under the heel.

This was the hey-day of the Air Force 1. It's interesting we've never seen MJ wearing the AF1. Y'all keep coming with the info if you have it. The youngsters need to know this history. And they don't get that from just buying retros. Speaking of retros, I think Nike should retro the Air Ship. What would make it real sweet is if they retroed the slightly lower cut version like MJ wore.
damn that negro was getting up in the air back in teh days
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Again Great Topic!

I have a question: History has it that MJ was instructed by NIKE/PROSERV (David Falk) To continue wearing the Red/Black AJ Is as they would pick up the fines. Pure Brilliant marketing strategy....but where are the actual pics? and how many actual games? as of now the only image of him wearing them are in the 1985 Slam Dunk Contest.

As a Jordan Historian....I would like to narrow the timeline down more...like when was the actual day the Red/Black/White AJIs were actually worn for the first time.

What I have so far is that he wore the Air Ship up until January 1985..Please anybody else with time specific information?

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Or maybe it was actually the Phototype Black/Red Air Ship that was actually banned? And then NIKE used the actual AJ Red/black 1s As the marketed shoe to hype up the release of the AJIs?..Just a theory

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