Term of Award
Master of Arts in History (M.A.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of History
Craig H. Roell
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Brian K. Feltman
WHO SAYS MAN WASN’T MEANT TO FLY:
HISTORY OF AIR JORDAN ADVERTSING, PORTRAYAL AND RACE FROM 1984-2003
DAVID C. REHDER
Under the Direction of Craig H. Roell
Michael Jordan became one of the most influential figures in history through his success in basketball and from his endorsements. The most significant of those endorsements was his partnership with Nike in the formation of the Air Jordan brand. During the height of his prominence and success, the United States was going through an era of racial tensions and violence. The friction allowed for the rise of many outspoken African-American figures. Other individuals of the era gained popularity through their negative press or controversy. Michael Jordan represented a different model then other African-American individuals who were prominent in the news cycle. He was apolitical and quiet on issues and in demeanor, and presented a family friendly and positive role model. Nike promoted Air Jordan by making the sneaker represent Jordan himself, meaning Michael Jordan became the product. Through the analysis of Air Jordan advertising, Nike presented Jordan as a “counter model” against many of the era’s figures and in representing Jordan and his brand in this matter they were able to allow for a wider consumption of their product.
KEY WORDS: Air Jordan, Michael Jordan, Nike, Race, Advertisements, Commercials, Spike Lee, 1980s, 1990s, Shoes
Rehder, David C., "Who Says Man Wasn't Meant to Fly: History of Air Jordan Advertising, Portrayal and Race from 1984-2003" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1750.
Research Data and Supplementary Material