The first Air Jordans were worn by a Chicago basketball star, who now resides back "home" in North Carolina. The brand is headquartered in Beavertown, Oregon.

But the birthplace of the Jordan Brand might as well be Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It's where Michael Jordan was born. It's where Spike Lee houses his production company, 40 Acres and a Mule. It's where Lee created Mars Blackmon, his Jordan-obsessed character in She's Gotta Have It who evolved into Jordan Brand's most important early spokesman not named Michael Jordan.

40 Acres and a Mule hosted the official launch party Thursday for the Jordan Fly '89, a new lifestyle shoe inspired by the Air Jordan IV. Although Lee is credited with helping to popularize the Jordan IV by including it in Do the Right Thing, he wasn't the one who wore the shoe in the 1989 movie.

"I wasn't really feeling the IVs for Do the Right Thing," Lee says. "I gave those to Giancarlo Esposito, whose character was Buggin' Out."

In one of the film's most memorable scenes, Buggin' Out has his Air Jordan IV Cements scuffed up by a Larry Bird fan. Jordan Brand is also producing a limited-edition vintage version of Buggin' Out's "f***ed up" Air Jordan IVs.


While much of the party focused on pumping up the Jordan Fly '89, Lee did take some time to give guests a history -- and an update -- of gentrification in Brooklyn while talking with Rob Markman of Genius. Lee, who was born in Atlanta but grew up in Brooklyn, called it a "mini-rant."

"My parents bought our brownstone in 1968 for $45,000," Lee says. "You can't buy no brownstone nowhere for $45,000. Back then in real estate, they wouldn't even say, 'Fort Greene.' They'd say, 'Downtown Vicinity.' Fort Greene was predominantly African-American and Puerto Rican. You walk around today, it's gentrified Fort Greene. The thing about gentrification that gets missed is that people rarely talk about where do you go if you got misplaced? Here in Brooklyn, it's always been the closer you are to Manhattan, the more the rent costs. But once you get past Coney Island, unless they start building buildings in the Atlantic Ocean, where you gonna go? It's always pros and cons of gentrification. When I was growing up here, the garbage was not picked up all the time, cops were not always around. It's always amazing to me that when the complexion of the neighborhood changes, then you get the public services, schools or better. It's not just happening in Brooklyn. When I was growing, the nickname for [Washington] D.C. was 'Chocolate City.' Now, it's 'Vanilla Swirl.'

"Fort Greene Park right now, if you're brown, you can't play soccer in Fort Greene Park because it's the mother f***ing Westminister Dog Show over here. It's true. Mount Morris Park, for 40 years, brothers were playing African drums. That s***'s gone. So when you move into a neighborhood, be humble. We were here before you. You can't just come in and bogart. Let's live in peace. Have some respect for the culture that was there before you moved in. That's all love. I'm not hating on anybody. Sometimes, people have this Christopher Columbus Syndrome. How you gonna discover people when they've been there already?"

Lee kept part of his talk light. While criticizing real estate agents for "rebranding" Brooklyn with new neighborhood names, he said, "What the f*** is Stuyvesant Heights? It's Crown Heights and it's Bed-Stuy, do or die."

Lee rocked the Jordan Fly '89 himself, wearing a white pair. A portion of the venue was also remodeled to look like Mookie's room from Do The Right Thing.


Mars And The Son Of Mars.

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

The Jordan Fly '89 goes on sale May 26 for $110 in white, black and gray (cement). The sneaker includes a sole with Lunarlon, a foam designed to be lighter but still offers sufficient cushioning.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.