In her ESPN column, Jemele Hill writes that Michael Jordan and Nike could do more to help stanch violence related to the release of limited-edition Air Jordans. She says it would help change the perception that Jordan is an opportunistic pitchman.
… Last week, Jordan and Nike released his retro gym shoe, the Air Jordan XI Concords — which Jordan wore during the 1995-96 season, when the Bulls notched a record 72 regular-season victories and won the NBA championship — in time for the Christmas rush, but the special release incited a rash of violence nationwide …
Jordan and Nike didn’t directly encourage this recklessness. They didn’t tell people to trample others who waited in line, and it’s not their fault that a segment of people have such skewed priorities.
But that doesn’t absolve Jordan or Nike for willingly feeding an out-of-control monster.
Let’s put aside the fact that these Air Jordans cost an absurd $180. The marketing campaign for these shoes is essentially akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater.
Nike, which created the Air Jordan brand in 1984, makes a big deal out of the fact that it only releases the Jordan XIs — arguably Jordan’s most sought-after shoe — once a year and they will be in available only in extremely limited supply.
Translation: Do whatever you have to do to get these shoes.
And if people get hurt in the process, so be it.
Yes, it’s the basic supply-and-demand sales strategy, but it’s irresponsible for Nike to ignore the violent problems these limited-edition shoes create.