The story behind the air Jordan Wings Logo ✈️

Peter Moore had the idea "to break the color barrier in shoes". He opted for a shoe that was mainly black and red and barely found on basketball sneakers. That was not enough. He still wanted another element to differentiate the Air Jordan I, a detail no one had ever seen before.

A light went out for him.

"(Nike Vice President) Rob Strasser and I come back from meeting with (Michael Jordan's agent) David Falk," Moore recalls. "We have decided that we will chase after the child and, following David Falk's suggestion, we also decided to call it" Air Jordan ".

"On the flight home, I wonder what that logo would look like," he continues. "I'm getting on the plane and I see this little kid and he has some captain wings on his shirt, they're plastic, the flight attendant had just given him, so I said," Can I have a pair of those wings? "The lady looked at me like I was some kind of idiot, but she gave me the wings and I sat down and started to draw the wings, I put a basketball in the middle, all this on a cocktail napkin, while Rob and I went after Fly home, that became the logo. "

Moore giggles a bit during a telephone conversation for more than 30 years.

"It's a very simple story," he says. "Most people think these things are complicated. They are really easy. "

Although it only took a few minutes, the Wings logo Moore was a major contribution to the Air Jordan line.

"Historically, it's all about flying," said David Creech, current Vice President of Design at Jordan Brand, about the logo. "It was part of the magic of MJ and obviously the AJI."

When I translated it from a cocktail napkin to the Air Jordan, I quickly tried to impress Jordan and get the line into production.

"We tell him how he's going to be the main player in the game, how he has his own logo, like no one has done before," Moore says in his portfolio, a 1995 book that contains his work and story his career.

In fact, the entire Air Jordan I project was in a hurry. They finally signed Jordan just before the start of his rookie season, and to prepare the shoe for him to play, Moore had to work overtime for months. His ability to produce at such speed had been honed over nearly a decade.

He was a freelance graphic designer in 1976 when he received a call from Nike's Ad Manager. He started working from project to project for the young company. He finally met Strasser, the then marketing director of Nike. After her first meeting, Moore was detained on a monthly basis by making posters and promoting the image of the brand, which he believed did not exist at the time.

Before the success of the I Moore was known for his work with these posters. He was the head behind the famous conceptual images of the swoosh and imagined athletes in various worlds, such as the Moses Malone poster, on which he holds a staff. The posters worked so well that he eventually became the first Nike Creative Director.

Most of Nike's early work was done at this fast pace. Moore says things are often "chaotic and hectic, with short deadlines and no clear direction".

The direction quickly became clearer as Michael came aboard. It was about shaping the future of sneakers for the future of the NBA. Everything about the Air Jordan I was brand new – the colors, the cut and above all the idea of ​​a personal logo. Moore put the logo on shirts, tank tops and jogging pants.

The final touch came on the collar of the Air Jordan I. The logo was attached to the side where it was not overlooked. It is the picture that represents the journey Jordan wanted to go to. He was holding a basketball in his hand and the Air Jordan I on his feet on a spaceship to the moon.

The Wings logo would also make it to the Air Jordan II. The luxury silhouette was not thrown back much during the day, largely due to Michael's foot injury in his second season. But the logo was there, very nice and big on the tongue.

After the Air Jordan III had fallen, the wings were taken off the line in favor of the Jumpman. The logo was not included in the Air Jordan line for years. It was finally returned to the XXXII and marked a return to the first official Air Jordan logo.

It was the missing piece for Moore, the explanation.

Watch me write history. Get on the flight or get out of the way.

Max Resetar is associate editor at SLAM. Follow him Twitter and Instagram,

Photos about Joseph Sherman. Greg Neumaier and Getty Images.

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How the Air Jordan I changed the sneaker culture