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The History of the Air Jordan 3

bulls michael jordan playing in air jordan 3s
michael jordan playing in air jordan 3s

The Air Jordan III is the shoe that defined so much of the brand’s innovation. The first two Air Jordan sneakers have parallels to other basketball shoes that were released in the era. The Air Jordan III broke the mold in terms of what a basketball sneaker could be.


The Air Jordan III is one of the most popular sneakers from Jordan Brand. Tinker Hatfield got his start with the Jordan franchise by designing the Air Jordan III. Hatfield’s genius helped to shape the direction of Jordan Brand. Tinker and Michael Jordan discussed what MJ wanted to see with the Jordan III during the design process. Michael made it clear that he wanted a lighter and sleeker shoe than the Jordan I & II. The Mid Top design of the III was the first for the line and the first for a basketball shoe. Another first was the appearance of the now iconic Jumpman logo on the tongue of the shoe. It is hard to imagine the franchise without that famous logo, the III introduced the Jumpman to the world. The III also introduced beloved elements like elephant print and a visible air unit to the Air Jordan line. Those elements are considered iconic pieces of the franchise today.

Air Jordan 3 Retro 'Cardinal Red'
Air Jordan 3 Retro 'Racer Blue'
Air Jordan 3 Retro SE 'Muslin'
Air Jordan 3 Retro OG 'Black Cement' 2018
DJ Khaled x Air Jordan 3 Retro 'Another One'
Air Jordan 3 Retro 'Michigan' PE

First Trip To Mars

The III launched a lot of firsts for the Jordan Brand when it came to design. The marketing of the Air Jordan III was also revolutionary. The first Jordan commercial featuring Mars Blackmon debuted in 1988. The ad for the Air Jordan III has made it hard to see the III and not instantly associate it to the Mars Blackmon persona. Mars Blackmon was of course played by Spike Lee. Lee is one of the most celebrated film directors of all time and his contributions to the Air Jordan franchise are massive.

Air Jordan 3 Retro SE 'Muslin' lifestyle
Air Jordan 3 Retro SE 'Muslin' on foot

The Impact Of The III

In 1988 the Air Jordan III was first made available for purchase. It was originally available for a retail price of $100.00. The Air Jordan III first received a retro release in 1994. To this day it is constantly being rereleased and presented in new colorways. The III introduced so many iconic elements to the franchise and it helped to shape what the Jordan Brand is today.

Michael Jordan accomplished some amazing things while wearing the III during the 1987-1988 season:

  • NBA All-Star Game Appearance
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP
  • NBA Slam-Dunk Contest Title
  • NBA Steal Champion
  • NBA Scoring Champion
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year
  • NBA Most Valuable Player


- Adam C. Better