Anybody who follows professional sports knows that February is a deadzone. NFL is over, ESPN pretends to care about MLB spring training, 80% of the NBA is in a mid-season slump, and hockey is hockey. So in 2013, sports media decided to fill up February programming slots by giving the most ubiquitous athlete in the history of sports even more attention because of his 50th birthday. There may one day be a better player than Jordan, but there probably won’t be one with better marketing and merchandising. (See: Any Kobe shoe.) If you have been alive for over a decade, you’ve likely owned something with a Jumpman on it; Lebron could fulfill his promise of eight championships, and still wouldn’t make it to that level.
Jordan’s career had been as much about championships as sneakers and advertising. M.J. will forever be “the greatest,” because he existed at a moment when an athlete could revolutionize a sport to a point that his personal brand influences something as distant as skateboarding.
The shoe parallels are obvious: Anybody who saw the Bones Brigade documentary (it’s on Netflix Instant, by the way) remembered that the Dunk/Jordan 1 was a skater favorite long before skate boutiques got SB accounts. The Caballero (before it got cut down to the Half Cab) had a bit of Jordan DNA in its design. The brand would even become indirectly responsible for the unfortunate air bubble craze of the late nineties.
February is a deadzone for skate content too, so here is a look back at some of the skaters who have most visibly been inspired by Jordan, sometimes beyond mere footwear.