Michael Jordan and His Influence on Pop Culture

Michael Jordan is a basketball superstar known all around the world. If he was playing in the NBA right now, there would be no talk about LeBron James. When it comes to basketball, Michael Jordan is the true legend. He changed the game with his clutch shooting and gravity-defying dunks. He has become the most valuable player in the NBA five times and led Chicago Bulls to six national championships. He made Nike shoes rise to super popularity. 


He completely revolutionized basketball

At a time when NBA needed a catalyst, Michael Jordan stepped up and completely revolutionized basketball. Having made his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls in 1984, the 14-time NBA All-Star made a transformation to the style and substance of the sport. 

He also altered the center position of NBA, as the six-time NBA champion had the influence to modernize basketball’s rules. He was pivotal in helping tailor the game’s contemporary outlook seeking to replicate his dominance. 

From an on-court standpoint, Michael Jordan made basketball a global phenomenon, which can be attributed to his unparalleled athleticism and superior technique. From a standstill, he would often toy with his opponents, feinting with his pivot foot like a swordsman. He was always remembered as the man who can fly on the court, but dunking wasn’t his signature. He was a layup artist of the highest order – a player who can turn hang time into amazing 360-degree floaters. 

Jordan’s playing style was the best in history. Not only he was a great offensive player, but he’s one of the best at defense, too. Details like this were shown through the added factors such as effort and work to resolve issues that went beyond his talent, which he did purely for the benefit of the team. 

Being the best at the game, along with his unrivaled hard work, was his true legacy. He showed people that the combination of talent and hard work is the secret to success. 

He single-handedly changed the culture of a city

No other NBA player in history has meant more to the city and team he represented than Mi9chael Jordan. When an average sports fan thinks of Chicago sports, Michael Jordan’s name would surely come to mind immediately.

During his playing years, Jordan and the Bulls provided the world with a whole new meaning for superstardom. Jordan’s world-renowned levels of stardom became a catalyst in altering the culture of Chicago. In winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls in the ‘90s, Jordan brought a winning attitude and loyalty that was unheard of in the NBA. His name became a symbolic brand that represents greatness. 

From a purely financial standpoint, economists expected that Chicago’s economy would be severely impacted by his short-term retirement in 1993. This just showed the marketing appeal of Jordan and how it helped raise Chicago’s economy. 

Ultimately, Chicago will forever be indebted to Jordan for taking a chance on the Air Jordan back in 1984. 

He built the Chicago Bulls from the ground up

No other player in the history of NBA has meant more to the city and the team he represented than Jordan. Most powerhouses in the NBA have gone through various phases in which a new superstar was leading the team. The Celtics and Lakers have long lists of Hall of Famers, who all contributed to the team’s successes as a whole. But no one plater truly rose above another within the timeline of those teams and others.

Michael Jordan, on the other hand, singlehandedly molded the Chicago Bulls into a winning team. Back then, the Bulls were easily the underdogs – far from being considered a contender among the leading teams. 

As the ‘90s were introduced, Michael Jordan was ready to take over the league. He was responsible for six of the ten championships won in the decade, even though he retired for a season and a half. He built the Chicago Bulls from the ground up and transformed it to an unstoppable tea, we all know. 

During the ‘90s, the Chicago Bulls were a team that, regardless of the team you are rooting for, you had to watch and cheer for. Jordan’s achievements have set a bar that has become unreachable.

His loyalty to the city and the team was unheard of in today’s NBA. Most players have a win now attitude, and are willing to go through every means to achieve the goal. But Jordan stayed true to his first team and stayed with them through the bad times long enough to reach the good times that were ahead. 

He helped Nike become a famous athletic brand in the world

Michael Jordan’s influence extended beyond the court and Chicago as he became an international icon through Nike. His fame helped Nike become one of the most famous athletic brand in the world. His Air Jordan shoes became highly popular with kids who wanted to play basketball, and adults who want to collect sneakers. 

When Nike released a new pair of shoes named the “Air Jordan I” for Michael Jordan to wear during one of the NBA regular season games, he was fined $5,000 for each game he wore them because the shoes did not meet NBA regulation. However, he chose to continue to wear it because he liked the brand (and Nike paid for the fines). Finally, the NBA commissioner decided to ban the shoes, but this only caused the merchandising of Nike Air Jordans to explode due to its rarity. When Nike released a new pair of Air Jordans, the ban was lifted, and the partnership between a player and a big corporation was never the same. 

Saying that Air Jordan sneakers are iconic seems to be an understatement. Jordan and his sneakers have influenced kids, teens, and adults around the world, and to have that kind of impact more than 30 years after his career began is crazy. 

He made sneakers serve as a status symbol

He changed not only the game of basketball, but also the game of merchandising and consumerism. His partnership with the shoe brand started a new wave of merchandising athletes with their own products. 

Nowadays, receiving a signature pair of kicks from a famous sports shoe brand is a true testament of a basketball player’s popularity and legendary status. Besides Michael Jordan (who became a sneaker god in a sneaker world), famous NBA superstars with signature sneakers include Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry, among others. But it was Michael Jordan who made signature sneakers a thing for basketball players.

Banking on the fame of whoever the shoes were named after, shoe manufacturers changed the game of sneaker consumerism. This variety of sneakers have caused a new type of hobby to start, where people collect and trade sneakers. These kinds of people, known as the “sneaker heads,” are prideful of their collections and are willing to buy sneakers no matter how much the price has gone up. Years after Michael Jordan’s retirement, Nike began re-releasing old Air Jordans to the public, where serious buyers and collectors gobble them up. Since the superstar-named branded shoes became collector’s items for most people, the prices of the shoes have risen, making it a status symbol if you can own one.