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"The Last Dance" phenomenon

Posted on July 18 2020

Nike Air Jordan are the sneakers of the moment: From the airing of the documentary "The Last Dance"'s Netflix on the life of Micheal Jordan, the legendary Nike Air Jordan returns to fly.

The telling of an iconic story and perhaps the most iconic men to have ever graced the court; has been hailed as one of the greatest sports documentaries of modern times and the ripples are only just beginning

Jason Hehir’s epic story of the 1998 Chicago Bulls season is groundbreaking - not that it tells the story of perhaps the most iconic sportsman in the history of sport; or how he became the first athlete to become a “brand” and set the mould for Tiger Woods, Lebron James and David Beckham. But rather than it unintentionally, through close insights and almost seamless transitions into the characters lives and history, such as Scottie Pipen and the emotive Denis Rodman, we see the birth of a culture. The birth of what so many of us see and embrace today.

Jordan & The Bulls gave birth to the NBA on a global scale. They took American music, fashion and culture around the world on a scale never seen before. Virgil Ablloh, Off White’s guru stated that “Jordan, to me, only after this amount if time is a symbol of unity. He was a role model. There was no art then for a kid from Chicago; there was no artist back then besides music, basketball and Jordan; it was something I could relate to in a very metaphoric way - the impression has been lasting.”

 The effect that The Bulls and Jordan had in the 90s was profound; every time Michael Jordan sported a new pair of Nike Air Jordan, fans flocked to buy it. This was how it worked then and it continues to be so today. 

StockX data in hand, " The Last Dance ", the documentary created by ESPN that tells the latest winning season of the Chicago Bulls, is driving orders crazy on the number one reselling platform in the world, which starting from April 19, date of the first two episodes, saw traffic increase by 63% on the pages dedicated to the Jordan brand, registering an actual increase in orders of 90%.

A phenomenon in the field and in the resell

Although in the documentary we mainly see Air Jordan 13, model released in 1997, in the fifth episode MJ wears the unmistakable Jordan 1 , shoe with which he played his last game with the Bulls. The nostalgia effect on the audience was not long in coming. The traffic on the pages of the Jordan 1 reached its all-time high the following day, winning twice the resale value compared to the March average. The episodes released on May 11 instead had important effects on the Jordan 10 and Jordan 11 models, setting a new record for the platform, with an average increase in traffic on the pages dedicated to the two models by 76%.

Not just sneakers

The MJ fever didn't just affect sneakers. The price of the Jordan collection items also increased by 40%, recording a 70% growth in sales. Within this category, collectible cards registered a real peak: sales of the Michael Jordan 1989 Hoops All-Star # 21 card quadrupled and its price doubled in a few weeks, while the resale value of Michael Jordan's 1987 Fleer # 59 card jumped by more than 100%.

... and not just Jordan

The miraculous effect "The Last Dance" also affected articles related to Scottie Pippen, whose sale quadrupled (+ 300%) in the first week, continuing to record a 50% increase in subsequent ones. The Chicago Bulls merchandise also benefited to a lesser extent, with orders rising 35% over the month.

Fashion has taken many cues from sport and music. It can be stated that Jordan, Rodman, Pippen and The 1990 Bulls have spawned what we see today. Rodman has often been held up as a template for the modern day basketball pro. 

Though his on-court ability could never be questioned, his antics off the court at the time led him to be ridiculed and arguably undermined his greatness and legacy; “he would be revered in todays game” Pippen has since stated. Something his son DJ, soon to enter the NBA is all too aware of. Abloh has tried to draw links back to the past and his inspiration in Off White’s Jordan collaborations - it has clearly resonated with us all.

The most anticipated release of 2020

With the end of the documentary, the next Jordan spell bears the signature of the most awaited collabo of 2020: the Dior x Air Jordan 1 sneakers, the result of the successful union between Dior and Jordan Brand. With the classic silhouette, featuring a low rubber sole and a leather upper with a high collar and decorations with monogram jacquard canvas inserts with the Dior Oblique logo, it is the shoe that is already making sneakerheads and fashionistas from all over the world dream. Presented by Kim Jones at the end of 2019, the model is not yet officially on sale, but on StockX there are already those who make offers even greater than three zeros.  

It seems Jordan’s legacy, the first sports billionaire, continues to command our attention, and that of our wallets.