It was a simple concept: Use a player to market a brand. When Nike created the original Air Jordan sneakers in 1985, it started a revolution for player-product gear.
Kanye West has his own branded sneakers now (Adidas), but the Jordan Brand still reigns supreme. Last weekend, Air Jordan had a chance to celebrate its 30-year anniversary in Michael Jordan's birth city. Across the street from Madison Square Garden on Seventh Avenue, the Jordan Brand unveiled its "NBA All-Star Week Consumer Experience" at Pearl Pavilion.
The experience effectively acted as a portable Air Jordan museum. Long time Sports Illustrated photographer Walter Iooss Jr.'s photos donned the walls. Iooss, whom Jordan specifically requested to shoot photos during his career, came into the experience and wrote captions on the photos.
In terms of artifacts, the museum hosted every Air Jordan sneaker and a "Hall of Greatness," featuring the game-worn shoes from Jordan's defining moments. Many of the sneakers, jerseys and accessories came from the Michael Jordan Building in Beaverton, Ore. Memorabilia from Jordan's partnership with Warner Bros. (e.g. Space Jam gear) was also provided.
For fans, the interactive experience includes a 360-degree slam dunk camera around an undersized hoops. Fans can throw down and watch their dunk from all angles. Fans could also test new Air Jordan models and go through drills to emulate the footwork of Jordan Brand players. Visitors can take their picture under the text "I'm Not Michael I am Jordan."
Perhaps the crown jewel of the event was the LED half-court simulator walled with 876 screens. Fans had the opportunity to choose one of three shots: Jordan's game-winning shot for North Carolina over Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA championship game, Jordan's 1998 game-winning jumper in Game 6 of the NBA Finals (a Jordan employee works as a mock defender and falls back like Byron Russell) and a free shot, symbolizing "The Next Shot" in 2015.
Of course, along with the attractions, the experience boasted a shop with the newest Jordan products. The latest Jordans, including products launched over All-Star Weekend, were present.
Iooss, Carmelo Anthony and Jordan's friends and colleagues Tinker Hatfield and Howard "H" White were among those to stop by the experience.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.