The AJI “Rookie of the Year”
Get to know the inspirations behind the new colorway.
On May 16, 1985, a then 22-year-old Michael Jordan was announced as the NBA Rookie of the Year. A month later, at a ceremony full of suits and ties, MJ made his way to the podium, wearing a gold-colored, suede shirt and a gold chain around his neck. His speech was a mere 25 seconds long — short and to the point. He even joked about retiring after two more years of playing.
No matter the occasion, MJ almost always wore something unique and memorable, whether it was the way he wore his North Carolina practice shorts (underneath his game shorts) or the way he rocked Air Jordan Is during his rookie season.
As a rookie, MJ averaged 28.2 points per game and led the Bulls to the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. He was the new kid on the block and a key reason that attendance doubled for the Bulls’ home games.
The new Air Jordan I “Rookie of the Year” references the color of the statement shirt that MJ wore during his 1985 acceptance speech. Jordan designers matched it to a “golden harvest” colorway and added hidden details underneath the ankle collar flaps — his rookie stats and a quote from a subsequent interview he gave that reads, “This award is nice, but I just feel it is very important for each individual to go out and contribute to his team.” In looking back on this moment, Jordan designers were inspired by MJ’s vision of himself as a teammate, first and foremost. The shoes also come with an extra pair of red laces, as a nod to the Chicago Bulls.