For years people fell under the spell of Nike marketing, believing that it was the “Black/Red” colorway of the Air Jordan 1 that was banned by the NBA back in 1984. But then in 2016, Russ Bengtson wrote an article that uncovered it was in fact the Nike Airship that was banned by the NBA, and NOT the Air Jordan 1. Ever since then, die-hard sneaker collectors like JumpmanBostic and MJO23DAN have been pleading with Nike and Jordan Brand to release this shoe and tell the story behind. And so far, NOTHING. Not a thing from either brand. It’s gotten to the point where MJO23DAN has literally started a petition to get Nike and Jordan Brand to release Airship.
No one should have to beg a brand to give them your money. Imagine being robbed at knife-point, and then pulling out your gun only to demand that the robber takes your wallet. It’s asinine. Nike knows what they have. Let’s just hypothesize that they aren’t sure they’ll sell. (I understand how that may be hard to believe seeing that they continue to make colorways of the M2K Tekno — and let’s not forget the Tinker Air Jordan 13s—but for shits and giggles, let’s pretend.). Nike and Jordan Brand could still do what they always do, limit the pairs available for release. As much as I disdain that practice, I understand the business behind it. It creates demand and hype for products that don’t even deserve it.
I had an opportunity to go to Nike HQ last year and they had the Airships strategically placed on top of a shelf full of original Air Jordan 1s. They know the correlation between the two, but in typical Nike/Jordan Brand fashion, they’re not going to give us what we want… At least not for now. So while Nike and Jordan Brand hold out on the sneaker community, one man in Wisconsin is taking it upon himself to do what they’re either unwilling, or unable, to do. Create and release the Airship.
Ray—who goes by @MinuteMaidPapi on Instagram – is a designer who saw the demand for the shoe and created a Bespoke, “Banned” version of the Nike Airship. He created a few versions, one of which he sent to MJO23DAN. You can watch his YouTube review here: https://youtu.be/6ivnEeK2mv4. For this final version, Ray, as the old folks used to say, “put his foot in this.” #punintended. The shoe features butter soft leather, perforated plonge, horween strobel, memory foam padding, and embroidered logos. Once again, the Airship is part of his Bespoke program, which allows him to make pattern alterations depending on the foot and size of the of the buyer. And apparently it also allows him to use Nike logos and sole colors while keeping that ‘cease and desist’ from Beaverton at bay.
For anyone interested in purchasing a pair of @MinuteMaidPapi’s Bespoke “Banned” Nike Airship you can find them on his website at MMPLG.net for $1,000. And if you want Nike and Jordan Brand to drop the official Nike Airship in all of its original glory, make sure to sign MJO23DAN’s online petition by clicking here: https://www.change.org/p/for-nike-to-retro-the-air-ship.