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The Release of the Jordan 3 Retro PE University of Michigan

Considered one of the most recognized sneakers of all time, the Air Jordan 3 introduced many firsts for the brand. First and foremost, Michael Jordan's third signature sneaker introduced the now-revered Jumpman logo—a silhouette of His Airness leaping through the air mid-dunk—that replaced the popular Wings logo found on the Jordan 1 and 2. It was a brand he could call his own, and a major selling point in his contract renewal with Nike.

The Air Jordan 3 also enlisted a new designer, Tinker Hatfield, already esteemed in the sneaker world and now considered a legend. Hatfield had designed the Air Max 1 and Air Trainer 1, so the introduction of visible Air technology into the Jordan line was a no-brainer. Hatfield worked closely with MJ to incorporate the superstar's vision into the designs. In addition to the Jumpman logo and visible Air, the Jordan 3 also introduced an eye-catching elephant skin print, softer leather and a mid-cut height—moving away from the then-trendy high-top style. The overall design borrows design elements from its famous predecessors, the Air Jordan 1 and 2.

How the Air Jordan III Almost Never Happen

There's the famous story of Michael Jordan almost signing with another brand, and then there's this one—where MJ almost ended his partnership with Nike. Jordan's original five-year deal with Nike yielded $500,000 per year, plus royalties, for a total estimated value of $7M. An early career injury in the Air Jordan 1—a broken foot—caused him to miss much of the '85-86 season and lose trust in Nike's ability to fulfill their promises. Jordan was looking for an out.

The meeting to present the new Air Jordan 3 was a make-or-break situation for the Nike x Jordan deal.

Tinker Hatfield played a significant role in keeping Michael on board, continually advocating for and protecting MJ's input in the design process. At a crucial meeting—the unveiling of the new Air Jordan 3 design—the Nike team reportedly waited four hours for Jordan to show up. It turns out he'd been on the golf course with new prospective partners. When MJ finally arrived, Hatfield knocked his socks off with the Air Jordan 3 prototype and an apparel line. And though it was Hatfield who saved the deal, Jordan's parents also influenced his decision, reportedly telling him that his actions were "embarrassing", recalling the influence they had on their son when he signed with the brand in the first place.

Jordan 3 Retro PE University of Michigan

Air Jordan player-exclusive sneakers arrive often for universities, and the Air Jordan 3 Retro Michigan PE is another rare Friends and Family pair. Only about 250 pairs of Jordan 3 Retro Michigan PE sneakers were released to players of the University of Michigan’s sports teams. Each pair features a navy tumbled leather upper with cement grey detailing on the heel and toe. Air Jordan 3 Retro Michigan women's and men's sizes also feature yellow accents on the tongue. They're found both inside on the lining and outside with the Michigan logo, as well as on the back with the Air Jordan branding.