We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
I have been researching this (online) for a while with no success. I know for sure that the weekend in Jordan was changed from Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday. But I was not able to find any reference on when this change was made. There is one website that seems to indicate that the change occurred in early 2000, but not clearly.
The question is: are there any references at all that indicates when this change took place?
Associated Press International
Saturday, December 25, 1999
"Jordan shifts weekend to Friday-Saturday"
Jordan said Saturday it will change the weekend for government offices to Fridays and Saturdays instead of Thursdays and Fridays, putting it more in step with world business.
State-owned Petra news agency said the change goes into effect starting the week of Saturday, Jan. 8.
It was not immediately clear if the government decision also applied to schools and universities.
The government had on Oct. 7 switched from a Friday-only weekend to Thursday-Friday. Friday is the Muslim Sabbath.
Economists had argued that that complicated commercial activity, because banks and the diplomatic corps had already taken Saturday as a holiday.
Businessmen said the Thursday-Friday weekend isolated the country from the Western world, where the weekend is normally Saturday and Sunday.
Financial institutions and many private businesses had introduced a Friday-Saturday weekend starting last March.
The other day weekend in Jordan is Friday, the Muslim day of prayer.
When was the weekend changed in Jordan? - History
The period between the two world wars was one of consolidation and institutionalization in Transjordan. Abdullah sought to build political unity by melding the disparate Bedouin tribes into a cohesive group capable of maintaining Arab rule in the face of increasing Western encroachment. Abdullah realized the need for a capable security force to establish and ensure the integrity of the state in defense, law, taxation, and other matters. Accordingly, he set up the fabled Arab Legion as one cornerstone of the fledgling state. The Arab Legion was set up with assistance from British officers, the most well-known of whom was Major J. B. Glubb.
Although the Arab Legion provided Emir Abdullah with the means of enforcing the authority of the state throughout Transjordan, he realized that true stability could only be realized by establishing legitimacy through representative institutions. Hence, as early as April 1928 he promulgated a constitution, which provided for a parliament known as the Legislative Council. Elections were held in February 1929, bringing to power the first Legislative Council of 21 members. The Legislative Council was guaranteed advisory powers, and seven of its 21 members were appointed.
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye was born on February 16, 1990, in Toronto, Ontario, to Ethiopian immigrants Makkonen and Samra Tesfaye    and grew up in Scarborough, Toronto.    He is an only child and was raised by his grandmother and mother after his parents separated.   While living with his grandmother, he learned Amharic, which he also spoke with his mother.  He attended services at the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.   He said of his father, "I saw him vaguely when I was six, and then again when I was 11 or 12, and he had a new family and kids. I don't even know where he lived — I'd see him for, like, a night. I'm sure he's a great guy. I never judged him. He wasn't abusive, he wasn't an alcoholic, he wasn't an asshole. He just wasn't there." 
Tesfaye has described his teenage years as being like the film "Kids without the AIDS." He stated he began smoking marijuana at age eleven, and later used ecstasy, oxycodone, Xanax, cocaine, psilocybin, and ketamine. He said that he often shoplifted to supplement his drug use.   He attended West Hill Collegiate Institute and Birchmount Park Collegiate Institute high schools in Scarborough. In 2007, he dropped out of school and moved to Parkdale, Toronto.  
2009–2012: Early beginnings
In August 2009, Tesfaye uploaded the song "Do It" to YouTube under the pseudonym AbelOfficial.  The following year, Tesfaye met Jeremy Rose, a producer who had an idea for a dark contemporary R&B musical project. After initially trying to pitch the idea to musician Curtis Santiago, Rose played one of his instrumentals for Tesfaye, who freestyle rapped over it, although Tesfaye's early work does not feature much rap. This led to the two collaborating on an album. Rose produced three songs – "What You Need", "Loft Music", and "The Morning" – and others that Tesfaye had sang on, which were ultimately scrapped. Rose let Tesfaye keep the tracks he had produced under the condition that he would be credited for them.  In December 2010, Tesfaye uploaded "What You Need", "Loft Music" and "The Morning" to YouTube under pseudonym "xoxxxoooxo", which was later changed to "the Weeknd".  His identity was initially unknown.   The songs drew some attention online, and were later included in a blog post from Drake.   The songs subsequently received coverage from various media outlets, including Pitchfork and The New York Times. Before adopting the stage name the Weeknd, he worked under the aliases of the Noise and Kin Kane.  When he was first making music, Tesfaye worked at American Apparel. Due to his anonymity, his co-workers listened to his music without knowing it was his.   
In 2011, Tesfaye met Sal Slaiby, founder of SAL&CO and CP Group, and Amir Esmailian, with whom he founded XO Records.  On March 21, 2011, XO Records released his debut mixtape House of Balloons.    The mixtape included production from Canadian producers Illangelo and Doc McKinney, and included the tracks produced by Rose although he did not receive production credits.  House of Balloons was met with critical acclaim.  It was named as one of ten shortlisted nominees for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize. 
One of his first concerts was to the Black Student Association at the University of Toronto in April 2011.  
In July 2011, Tesfaye began a tour of Toronto, with his first live performance at the Mod Club Theatre. Drake was in attendance to view the performance, which ran for ninety minutes.  At the show, Drake discussed collaborating with Tesfaye. Tesfaye performed as the opening act for Drake's shows scheduled at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, and appeared at the second annual OVO Fest in July 2011.  In the summer of 2011, Tesfaye contributed to four songs on Drake's Take Care, both as a writer and a featured artist. 
Tesfaye refrained from participating in interviews, choosing to communicate via Twitter, which he attributed to shyness and insecurities.  
Tesfaye's third mixtape Echoes of Silence was released on December 21, 2011, a year after his debut singles. 
In December 2011, Noise EP, consisting of 10 tracks that were created before his first album, was posted online.  On October 31, 2012, Tesfaye posted via Twitter that: "noise ep was bunch of songs leaked by salty producers and found AFTER HOB dropped. demo's written as a teen to get recognition. xo." 
2012–2014: Trilogy and Kiss Land
In April 2012, Tesfaye began his first international tour, which included performances at Coachella,  sold-out shows at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, which were positively reviewed by Rolling Stone,   and various European festivals, including the 2012 Primavera Sound Festivals in Spain and Portugal,  and the Wireless Festival in London in July 2012.   His performance at Wilton's Music Hall in London in June 2012 included a cover version of Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana" and had Katy Perry and Florence Welch in attendance. 
In September 2012, Tesfaye signed with Republic Records in a joint venture with his imprint label, XO. 
In December 2012, the compilation album for the mixtapes, Trilogy, consisting of three new songs as well as remastered versions of older songs, was released.    It also officially credited Rose as a producer and writer on the three songs from House of Balloons for which he did not initially receive credit.  Trilogy charted at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 86,000 copies. It also debuted at number five on the Canadian Albums Chart, with similar sales.   Trilogy was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and double-platinum by Music Canada in May 2013.   A week later, he gained a nomination for the Sound of 2013 poll award by the BBC. 
On May 16, 2013, Tesfaye premiered the title track to his debut studio album Kiss Land,  and announced the album's release date as September 10.  The album was later promoted by the singles "Belong to the World" and "Live For" featuring Drake. Tesfaye embarked on a Fall tour from September 6 to November 25, 2013.  Upon release, Kiss Land debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 96,000 copies.  It sold over 273,000 copies in the United States and received generally positive reviews from music critics. 
Tesfaye appeared on The 20/20 Experience World Tour, joining headline act Justin Timberlake for six shows.  This was three weeks prior to his contributions to the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), contributing "Devil May Cry", as well as featuring on Sia's "Elastic Heart", the second lead single from the soundtrack. 
In February 2014, Tesfaye remixed "Drunk in Love", a single by Beyoncé from her eponymous studio album. Retaining the theme and concept of the song, he detailed the synopsis through the perspective of a male. 
Tesfaye's first headlining tour, the King of the Fall Tour, was held across the United States in September and October 2014, and included Schoolboy Q and Jhené Aiko as opening acts.  This was followed by his release of the songs "Often" and "King of the Fall", leading to speculation that the former was the first single from his second studio album. 
In October 2014, he collaborated with Ariana Grande on a duet titled "Love Me Harder", which peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. 
In December 2014, he released "Earned It", a single from Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). The song, which marked his second contribution to a film, peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. In February 2016, he performed the song at the 88th Academy Awards, where it was nominated for Best Original Song. 
2015–2017: Beauty Behind the Madness and Starboy
In June 2015, after winning the Centric Award at the BET Awards 2015, Tesfaye performed "Earned It" with Alicia Keys, and debuted the song "The Hills".   "The Hills" was later released for digital download, and debuted at number twenty on the Billboard Hot 100. The single went on to top the Billboard chart, marking Tesfaye's first number-one single. In June 2019, the single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), making it Tesfaye's first diamond-certified record.  
On June 8, 2015, "Can't Feel My Face", a previously Internet leaked track, was released as the album's third single, following its performance at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.  The song debuted at number twenty-four on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached number-one on the Hot 100, making it his third top 10 hit, and his second number-one hit in the United States.   He occupied all three slots on Billboard's Hot R&B Songs chart simultaneously with the aforementioned singles, becoming the first artist in history to accomplish this.  He headlined FVDED in the Park 2015, a festival in Surrey, British Columbia.  Tesfaye was unveiled as one of the musical faces of the streaming service Apple Music, a position he harboured with frequent collaborator Drake. 
In August 2015, during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, Apple debuted a two-part promotional commercial featuring Tesfaye, which had a guest appearance from John Travolta. 
Beauty Behind the Madness, his second studio album, was released on August 28, 2015, and debuted atop the Billboard 200, earning 412,000 album equivalent units in its first week.   It reached the top 10 in over ten countries and reached number one in Canada, Australia, Norway, and the United Kingdom.   The album was promoted by Tesfaye headlining various summer music festivals, including Lollapalooza, the Hard Summer Music Festival, and the Bumbershoot Festival.  He announced The Madness Fall Tour, his first large-scale tour across the United States, which began in November 2015, and concluded in December 2015.   The album was certified double platinum in the U.S., and sold 1.5 million copies worldwide.  It was the most-streamed album in 2015, with over 60 million,  and was ranked on multiple lists of albums of the year. 
On September 8, 2015, Tesfaye became the first male artist to simultaneously hold the top three spots on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart, with the three singles that preceded the release of his album. They all went platinum in the United States.  After engaging in multiple musical collaborations with Belly,  Meek Mill,  and Travis Scott,   Tesfaye was featured on "Low Life", the triple platinum single from Future's fourth studio album. 
On October 10, 2015, Tesfaye appeared on Saturday Night Live alongside actress Amy Schumer, performing as the show's musical guest.  This was his first performance on the show as a solo artist, after appearing with Ariana Grande to perform "Love Me Harder". 
Tesfaye was featured on "FML", a track on Kanye West's The Life of Pablo.   It marked the second collaboration between the pair, with West providing production and writing on "Tell Your Friends" from Beauty Behind the Madness. Tesfaye appeared on "6 Inch", the fifth song on Beyoncé's Lemonade. 
In August 2016, Tesfaye announced a collaboration with Norwegian record producer Cashmere Cat, titled "Wild Love". 
In September 2016, Tesfaye announced a new album, Starboy, with a release date of November 2016 and including collaborations with French electronic music duo Daft Punk.   He released the album's title track, which features Daft Punk on September 21. The song received platinum certification and went to number one in the United States, as well as in various other countries.  A second collaboration with Daft Punk, entitled "I Feel It Coming", was released a week proceeding the album's release, alongside the solo efforts "Party Monster" and "False Alarm". 
On October 1, 2016, Tesfaye returned to Saturday Night Live, performing "Starboy" and "False Alarm". 
He released a 12-minute short film, titled M A N I A, on November 23.  Directed by Grant Singer, it featured excerpts from the album, including snippets from "All I Know" featuring Future, "Sidewalks" featuring Kendrick Lamar, "Secrets" and "Die for You". 
In February 2017, Tesfaye appeared on Hndrxx, Future's sixth studio album,  as well as on the Some Way debut single from Nav, who was signed by XO in January 2017. 
In April 2017, he became the first feature utilized by Lana Del Rey, appearing on "Lust for Life", the title track and second single from her fifth studio album.   He was featured on French Montana's "A Lie", the third single from his second album Jungle Rules and on Cashmere Cat's debut single "Wild Love" from his album 9. He appeared on the Virgil Abloh-directed music video for Lil Uzi Vert's "XO Tour Llif3" alongside XO signee Nav. He was later featured on Lil Uzi Vert's Luv Is Rage 2 and Gucci Mane's eleventh studio album Mr. Davis.
2018–2020: My Dear Melancholy and After Hours
In January 2018, he was nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards for Starboy and ended up winning the award. 
On January 31, 2018, Top Dawg Entertainment revealed the full tracklist of the Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther soundtrack album  with Tesfaye featured on one of the tracks, "Pray for Me". On February 2, 2018, it was released as the soundtrack's third single. This was the second collaboration between Tesfaye and Lamar, after the song "Sidewalks" on the Starboy album. [ citation needed ]
After being teased and leaked in the days before, on March 30, 2018, the extended play My Dear Melancholy, was released.      
On June 6, 2018, Tesfaye announced his new Beats 1 radio show Memento Mori. The first episode was released two days later. 
On November 21, 2018, the compilation album The Weeknd in Japan was released and served as his first greatest hits album.  
In January 2019, Tesfaye and French producer Gesaffelstein, who previously worked with Tesfaye on EP My Dear Melancholy, Gesaffelstein released "Lost in the Fire", the second single off the latter's second studio album, Hyperion.  
On April 18, 2019, Tesfaye released "Power Is Power" alongside SZA and Travis Scott, a song part of For the Throne: Music Inspired by the HBO Series Game of Thrones, inspired by the television show Game of Thrones, of which Tesfaye himself is a fan.  On May 5, Tesfaye, SZA and Travis Scott released the music video for their Game of Thrones-inspired track. 
On August 30, 2019, during the Telluride Film Festival, Tesfaye made his debut cinematic appearance in the film Uncut Gems. 
On November 24, 2019, "Blinding Lights", the lead single of his fourth studio album After Hours, was announced via a Mercedes-Benz commercial on German television.  The next day, footage of a music video being shot in Fremont Street, Las Vegas surfaced. 
In promotion of the upcoming album, episode seven of the Weeknd's manager Amir Esmailian's Memento Mori Beats 1 radio show was released on November 27, 2019.  The single "Heartless" debuted at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 and later became his fourth number one single on the chart, the following week.  The second single "Blinding Lights" debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 the same week "Heartless" topped it, fell to number 52 in its second week, and reached number one on the chart on April 4, 2020.   Tesfaye revealed the album's title, After Hours, and release date, March 20, 2020, on February 19, 2020, and released the album's title track as a promotional single simultaneously. 
On March 7, 2020, Tesfaye appeared on Saturday Night Live, performing "Blinding Lights" and the previously unreleased "Scared to Live".  The album was released on March 20, 2020, containing the singles "Heartless", "Blinding Lights" and "In Your Eyes".  The record debuted atop the US Billboard 200, earning 444,000 album-equivalent units of which 275,000 were in pure sales.  On March 29, 2020, Tesfaye announced the release of three more previously unreleased songs: "Nothing Compares", "Missed You" and "Final Lullaby".  In the album's first charting week, Tesfaye became the first artist to lead the Billboard 200, Billboard Hot 100, Billboard Artist 100, Hot 100 Songwriters and Hot 100 Producers charts simultaneously.  After Hours had a second consecutive week at number one on the Hot 100 Songwriters chart in April 2020, due to five entries on the latest Billboard Hot 100 (singles), all of which he co-wrote and co-produced.  In April 2020, Tesfaye announced he would be co-writing and starring in an upcoming episode of American Dad!, which premiered on May 4, 2020. 
On August 7, 2020, late American rapper and singer Juice Wrld released "Smile" as a single, with Tesfaye as a feature. Three weeks later, on August 28, he released the single "Over Now" with Scottish DJ and record producer Calvin Harris. After six years, Tesfaye worked with Ariana Grande again on a song called "Off the Table."  The song was featured on track five of her album Positions,  which released October 30, 2020. On the same day, Magic Oneohtrix Point Never released by Daniel Lopatin featured vocals from Tesfaye on track eight, "No Nightmares."  On November 5, 2020, Maluma released the "Hawái" remix featuring Tesfaye.  He also debuted three live performances on Vevo in November 2020,  and performed at iHeartRadio's Jingle Ball alongside other artists on December 10, 2020. 
Widely expected to receive multiple nominations for After Hours, Tesfaye was shut out of any nominations for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards in March 2021.  Tesfaye criticized The Recording Academy via social media, claiming corruption.  Speculation arose that the announcement of his then-upcoming performance at the Super Bowl LV halftime show as well as the discrepancy of being nominated as pop music versus R&B contributed to the snubs.  In response to the controversy, Academy chairman Harvey Mason Jr. issued a statement:
We understand that the Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathize with what he's feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone's admiration. We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before. Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. But as the only peer-voted music award, we will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music while shining a light on the many amazing artists that make up our global community. To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before the Weeknd's performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process. All Grammy nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all. 
2021: Super Bowl LV Halftime Show and new music
In January 2021, Tesfaye responded by saying that his previous GRAMMY awards mean nothing to him.  Despite the Recording Academy announcing the elimination of private nominating committees,  Tesfaye said that moving forward with his career, he will prevent his record label from submitting his work to The Recording Academy. 
On February 5, 2021, The Highlights was released as his second greatest hits album. Tesfaye headlined the Super Bowl LV halftime show on February 7, 2021.     He reportedly spent $7 million of his own money on the Super Bowl performance.  Reviews of the performance were mixed.       The show resulted in a surge in streaming and downloads for Tesfaye's After Hours album as well as for the seven other songs he performed, along with an increase in ticket sales for The After Hours Tour, scheduled for 2022.  
In May 2021, Tesfaye began teasing a new era of music, often mentioning "the dawn". On May 4, during an interview with Variety, he said "If the last record is the after hours of the night, then the dawn is coming".  On May 13, he continued to hint at "The Dawn" with an Instagram caption, "The Dawn is Coming. " 
On May 11, 2021, Tesfaye performed "Save Your Tears" at the 2021 BRIT Awards. He also accepted his first BRIT Award for International Male Solo Artist.
On May 24, 2021, Tesfaye performed "Save Your Tears" at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards. He was nominated for a record 16 awards, and won 10, including Top Artist and Top Hot 100 Song. When accepting his awards, Tesfaye said "the after hours are done, and the dawn is coming", quoting his album After Hours.  On May 28, 2021, Tesfaye performed the same song at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards with Ariana Grande. He continued to say that "the dawn is coming" when he accepted the awards he won. "
Tesfaye cites Michael Jackson, Prince, and R. Kelly as his main musical inspirations.  He has attributed Jackson's music as key in spurring him to be a singer, referencing the lyrics to "Dirty Diana" as an example.  He also said his high-flying vocal style was influenced by Ethiopian singers including Aster Aweke.  He grew up listening to a variety of music genres, including soul, hip hop, funk, indie rock, and post-punk.  Tesfaye has said: "I've always had an admiration for the era before I was born. You can hear it as far back as my first mixtape that the '80s – Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cocteau Twins – play such a huge role in my sound."  
Tesfaye's songs are "built around a fogged, crepuscular production",  and feature slow tempos,  rumbling bass, and forlorn echoes.  Tesfaye often sings in a falsetto register,  exhibiting an enticing tone. J. D. Considine finds his singing's "tremulous quality" similar to Michael Jackson, but writes that he eschews Jackson's "strong basis in the blues" for a more Arabic-influenced melisma.  Tesfaye possesses a wide light-lyric tenor vocal range, which spans over three octaves. His vocal range reaches its extreme low at the bass F (F2), and its peak high at the tenor G ♯ (G ♯ 5), with a natural tessitura within the upper fourth octave.   Tesfaye often makes use of his head voice to build resonance to belt out strong high notes within the fifth octave.  His music incorporates samples that are unconventional in R&B production, including punk and alternative rock.  Marc Hogan of Spin says that Tesfaye's samples tend "to draw from rock critic-approved sources, though generally ones that already share elements of his sexual menace", with samples of artists such as Beach House, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Aaliyah.  Tesfaye worked mostly with producers Illangelo and Doc McKinney, whom Ian Cohen of Pitchfork credits with developing "a state-of-the-art R&B template" with the artist.  In concert, Tesfaye reappropriates his digitized productions with a suite-like arena rock aesthetic. 
His emotional, plaintive lyrics often express feelings of hurt and deal with subject matter such as sex,  drugs, and partying, especially in After Hours.  Hermione Hoby of The Guardian characterizes Tesfaye's songs as "narcotised-slow jams" and delineates their message as "partying is an existential experience, sex is fraught with alienation, and everything registers as unreal and unsettling".  Paul MacInnes of The Guardian stated that he views Tesfaye's three mixtapes as "a rough trajectory of party, after-party and hangover".  Anupa Mistry of the Toronto Standard observes throughout his mixtapes a "cast of supine, stoned zombie-women . whose legs willingly part after being plied with substances and who morph into threats only when [he is] coming down and feeling vulnerable".  Tesfaye has viewed that, by singing vulgar, ignorant lyrics in an elegant, sexy way, he is paying homage to R. Kelly and Prince. 
Tesfaye's musical style has been described as Contemporary R&B,    alternative R&B,    pop,   electropop,  and synth-pop.  Tesfaye has helped broaden R&B's musical palette to incorporate indie and electronic styles his work has been categorized with the alternative R&B tag.  Mistry writes that he "will be obsequiously praised as the future of R&B music—because [he] is a black singer, not because he's making quantifiable, canonical R&B".  Andy Kellman of AllMusic categorizes him as an "alternative R&B act".  While promoting his third album Starboy, Tesfaye also revealed Lana Del Rey,  David Bowie,  the Smiths, Bad Brains, Talking Heads, DeBarge,  50 Cent, the Wu-Tang Clan,   and Eminem as influences.   When electronic music duo Daft Punk announced their split, Tesfaye commented on an interview with Variety: "Those guys are one of the reasons I make music, so I can't even compare them to other people. " 
During the Legend of the Fall Tour promoting Kiss Land, Tesfaye collaborated with condom-producing company ONE to give away limited-edition condoms at his shows.  They featured the visual identity of the new album with Oxcy – the album's mascot – printed on one side. 
In November 2015, to further promote Beauty Behind the Madness, Tesfaye collaborated with Pax Labs to release a limited edition version of the PAX 2 vaporizer, an electronic cigarette that could be used in shows during The Madness Fall Tour.  The e-cigarette featured the "xo" branding on the front, as well as having the ability to play "The Hills" when turned on.  The original PAX 2 cost $279.99 the limited edition e-cigarette cost $324.99.  PAX also acted as an official sponsor for the tour, presenting special backstage VIP activations for fans who bought packages that included the e-cigarette.   PAX Labs chief marketing officer Richard Mumby stated "Music and fashion have always been a natural fit for Pax. This was the perfect opportunity to bring together the Weeknd's style with our technology." 
In 2016, Tesfaye announced a partnership with Puma, as a global brand ambassador, for the company's "Run the Streets" campaign. It was launched in early November, with the final collection made available to coincide with the release of his album Starboy.  He also hosted several pop-up retail stores for the "Starboy: Limited Capsule" collection,  which were available across North America, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto.  With this partnership, Tesfaye also released three capsule collections named PUMA X XO including T-shirts, caps, sweatpants, bomber jackets and a pair of shoes called the Parallels.  
Tesfaye has also begun his own XO branded merchandise, which was furthered by a collaboration with H&M to present its Spring 2017 campaign. The campaign featured new collaborative pieces developed with the singer's brand, and was released on March 2, 2017.   Tesfaye collaborated with H&M again for a fall collection, however, after an incident which he described as "deeply offensive" in 2018, he cut ties with the company.  In May 2017, Tesfaye had a limited edition pop up sale for the "Starboy 2017 Limited Capsule Collection".  The collections were available in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami Beach, Houston, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.  Tesfaye has collaborated with artists and designers such as Kidult, Alexander Wang  and Futura. 
In October 2017, after teasing on Instagram,  Tesfaye revealed at the New York Comic-Con that a Starboy comic book in partnership with Marvel Comics would be released on June 13, 2018,  with the title character being a superhero modelled after himself. 
XO released a collection of apparel in collaboration with A Bathing Ape  in August 2018  and again in January 2020. 
In April 2019, Tesfaye bought ownership in esports company OverActive Media Group, the owners of Splyce and Overwatch League team Toronto Defiant, and will serve as the company's global ambassador. 
On August 31, 2020, Tesfaye partnered with TD Bank to launch Black Hxouse, an entrepreneurial initiative.  On September 9, 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $221 million joint venture with Hxouse for Black Canadian entrepreneurs. 
Tesfaye began dating model Bella Hadid in early 2015. The couple were first seen together in April at Coachella,   and Hadid starred in his music video for "In the Night" a few months later. They made their red carpet debut as a couple at the 2016 Grammy Awards.  In November 2016, the couple broke up due to their conflicting schedules.  Tesfaye started dating actress and singer Selena Gomez in January 2017.  They moved in together temporarily later on in September,  but broke up a month later.  Tesfaye and Hadid got back together in May 2018,  and split once again in August 2019. 
On his early albums, to help get over his writer's block, Tesfaye often used drugs and abused illegal substances such as "ketamine, cocaine, MDMA, magic mushrooms, and cough syrup".  In December 2013, he said that drugs were a "crutch" for him when it came to writing music.  On social media, he typically suffixed his first name with "xo",  which is often used as an emoticon for hugs and kisses.  According to Hermione Hoby, this was Tesfaye's intention, though others believe it was a reference to his recreational use of ecstasy and oxycodone.   He later altered the handles on his social media to reflect his stage name in preparation for the release of Starboy. 
Tesfaye's hairstyle, which has been described as his most recognizable trait, has been claimed to be partly inspired by Brooklyn graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.   He began growing it out in 2011 and remarked at how easy it was to maintain with "a hard shampoo every once in a while".  He cut his hair in 2016, prior to the release of Starboy. 
In 2017, Tesfaye purchased a new mansion in Hidden Hills, California for $18.5 million, which he sold to Madonna in 2021 for $19.3 million.   In November 2019, he purchased an penthouse in Westwood, Los Angeles.   Since 2018, he has rented a penthouse apartment in New York City.  In his spare time, Tesfaye enjoys watching television  and playing video games.   
Despite having previously worked in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto,  in May 2016 Tesfaye and Belly cancelled an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! due to Donald Trump being present.    
Tesfaye was raised as an Ethiopian Orthodox. When asked about his religious beliefs in 2020, Tesfaye said "I dunno. everything is a test, and if you are religious or spiritual, you have to go through things." 
After being presented with a Bikila Award for Professional Excellence in 2014, Tesfaye donated $50,000 to the University of Toronto to fund a new course on Ge'ez, the classic language of Ethiopia.  In August 2016, he funded a new Ethiopian Studies program at the University of Toronto.  In May 2016, during Orthodox Easter, Tesfaye donated $50,000 to the St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Toronto, Canada, a church he attended growing up.  
In December 2015, he worked with Ryan Seacrest's foundation to visit Children's Hospital in Atlanta.  
In June 2017, Tesfaye donated $100,000 to the Suubi Health Center, a maternity and children's medical facility in Budondo, Uganda. Tesfaye was inspired to support the center after learning of French Montana's work with Global Citizen and Mama Hope to help raise awareness for Suubi and the people of Uganda. 
In April 2020, Tesfaye relaunched XO's line of non-medical cloth face masks, with 100% of the proceeds going to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, a campaign launched by the GRAMMYs to help musicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  With the profit, Tesfaye donated $500,000 each to MusiCares and $500,000 to his hometown front-line hospital workers of the Scarborough Health Network in Ontario, Canada for a total of $1 million to COVID-19 relief. 
In the context of media outlets reporting cases of police brutality, in July 2016, he expressed disdain, tweeting "blue lives murder".   In August 2016, Tesfaye donated $250,000 to Black Lives Matter.    In May 2020, in response to the murder of George Floyd, the George Floyd protests, and mass racial violence in the United States, Tesfaye donated $500,000 to Black Lives Matter, Colin Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp, and the National Bail Out he also posted on his official Instagram account to spread awareness. 
On August 7, 2020, Tesfaye held "the Weeknd Experience", an interactive virtual concert on social media application TikTok, which drew 2 million total viewers including 275,000 concurrent viewers and raised over $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative. He also donated $300,000 to Global Aid for Lebanon in support of victims of the 2020 Beirut explosion.  
On November 2, 2020, the University of Toronto announced that it was able to reach and surpass its fundraising goal of $500,000 for its Ethiopic program, which included a $30,000 donation from Tesfaye. 
On April 4, 2021, Tesfaye announced that he would donate $1 million through the World Food Programme to relief efforts in Ethiopia for people affected by the Tigray War.  He met with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development Samantha Power about the crisis on June 9. During the meeting, he was briefed on the latest developments and discussed ways of increasing public pressure so direct action can be made to help civilians. 
In May 2021, Tesfaye was among the celebrities expressing more solidarity for civilians who died during the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis.  
In January 2015, Tesfaye was arrested for allegedly punching a Las Vegas Police Department officer after he was taken into an elevator to break up a fight.   He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 50 hours of community service. 
In December 2015, Tesfaye was sued by Cutting Edge Music, which alleged that the bassline for "The Hills" had been taken from a composition featured in the score for the 2013 science fiction film The Machine.  One of the producers of the song was alleged to have sent a private Twitter message to Tom Raybould, the composer of the film's score, to tell him about the sample. 
In September 2018, Tesfaye and Daft Punk were sued for allegedly stealing the rhythm for "Starboy" from Yasminah, an Ethiopian poet, singer, and songwriter.  Tesfaye denied the allegations. 
In April 2019, Tesfaye was sued by British trio William Smith, Brian Clover, and Scott McCulloch, who accused Tesfaye of copyright infringement from plagiarising their song "I Need to Love" in order to create his song "A Lonely Night". They sought $150,000 from Tesfaye and Belly. In August 2019, the lawsuit was dismissed via summary judgment with the option to amend, with the court ruling that they had failed to show that Tesfaye or anyone else involved in making "A Lonely Night" had access to their song or that the works were substantially similar.  In September 2019, the plaintiffs filed an amended claim based on secondary infringement, which is still in litigation.  
Tesfaye has won three Grammy Awards, nineteen Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, nine Juno Awards,  and has been nominated for one Academy Award.  In February 2015, he was awarded the Allan Slaight Award by Canada's Walk of Fame for "making a positive impact in the fields of music, film, literature, visual or performing arts, sports, innovation or philanthropy". 
The origin of the weekend
Draft workplace reforms released by the Productivity Commission on Tuesday recommended that Sunday penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers match lower Saturday rates, prompting debate about the financial and social value of weekends. What are they worth to us?
We haven't always reserved weekends for barbecues or the footy. For centuries, the working week was six or seven days long. The weekend, as we know it now, is a modern invention that's still changing. So what is the origin of the weekend?
The weekend evolved from the religious concept of the sabbath.
The weekend evolved from the religious concept of the sabbath, a day devoted to God and not work. In Jewish tradition, the sabbath is from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. Most Christians eventually adopted Sunday as their day of worship and rest.
Over time, workplaces in Western countries began to accommodate those religious observances. Professor Greg Patmore, a labour and business historian at the University of Sydney, says Australia's early convicts were encouraged to spend Sundays at church, which was seen as good for their character.
But what about Saturday?
The two-day weekend evolved alongside campaigns for a shorter working week. Workers in 18th and 19th century Britain started to ask for longer breaks from the harsh working conditions of industrialisation – as opposed to farming, which depended on daylight and the demands of the farm.
Waiting for the Weekend author Witold Rybczynski noted that employers were also willing to give workers more time to recover from drinking, which is how many employees spent their time off. A shorter or half-day Saturday was seen as a natural lead-in to Sunday's day of rest.
The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first use of the word "weekend" to 1879, when British magazine Notes and Queries observed: "If a person leaves home at the end of his week's work on the Saturday afternoon to spend the evening of Saturday and the following Sunday with friends at a distance, he is said to be spending his week-end at so-and-so."
How did the two-day weekend evolve in Australia?
Professor Patmore says Melbourne and Sydney stonemasons in 1856 became some of the first people in the world to successfully campaign for an eight-hour workday. They argued that labouring long hours in the Australian heat was bad for their health.
Australia earned a reputation around the world as a "working man's paradise." But it wasn't until 1916 that an eight-hour day was commonplace, and even then most people worked close to nine hours each day Monday through Friday and four hours on Saturday.
The work week was finally reduced to 40 hours in 1948 and to 38 hours in 1983. In the postwar era, when families had more time and money for leisurely pursuits and vacation, the two-day weekend became standard.
So why did we start paying people more money to work on weekends?
Penalty rates on weekends were introduced in 1947 as compensation for making people work when others did not have to.
Studies have noted that people pay a social, psychological and physical cost when they are cut off from their families and friends on a regular basis.
Professor Patmore also says the education system has come to reflect the standard working week and its weekends, so parents could spend time with their children on Saturday and Sunday.
"Given the importance of the family and the raising of children, that has to be considered when looking at weekends because our school system works that way," Professor Patmore says.
What's changing about our weekends?
While Australians don't go to church in the numbers they once did, the notion of the weekend as a break from labour remains.
According to the Productivity Commission's draft report, however, a more "flexible" labour market has made weekend work more common again.
"The traditional Monday-Friday week is not dead, but nor is it as predominant as in the past," the report says, noting that one in three working Australians work at least one Saturday or Sunday each week.
Consumers now expect certain businesses – particularly in hospitality, entertainment and retail – to open on weekends. Australians want to be able to do their shopping or grab a coffee seven days a week, making it more important for employers to have people working during those hours and less important for them to have people working on Mondays, for example.
How do other countries view the weekend? Do they pay penalty rates?
Not everyone looks forward to Saturday and Sunday as days off. Fridays and Sundays are days of rest in Brunei, while Israelis work Sunday through Thursday. It's normal in the Netherlands to work four days a week.
Most OECD countries have penalty rate systems in place for work on prescribed days of rest, though the degree to which workers are compensated varies.
Germany has resisted growing consumer demand for extended trading hours on Sunday. Most traders are prohibited from opening on Sundays. People who do work on Sundays receive an extra day off.
The Biggest Myth In NBA History Michael Jordan Played Against Better Competition In Better Era
Obviously, Michael Jordan is an all-time great player in NBA history. His career speaks for itself, but due to the period of time he played, and the continued globalization of the NBA during a time when he was basically bigger than the league itself, there are certain myths that became widely accepted when looking back at his career. One of those is that he’s vastly superior to others because he played in a better and more competitive era of basketball, when in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s look at some facts.
1. JORDAN PLAYED IN AN EXPANSION ERA.
Firstly, Jordan played (and mostly won) championships during an expansion era of the league. Yes, believe it or not, Michael Jordan played during an era where the league was still trying to find its own identity and incorporate different cities of America into the league. Because of this, Jordan played against some of the worst competition the league has ever seen, owning some of the worst records in NBA history that still stand today. During his career, 6 sub .500 teams were added to the league, which in turn, diluted an already inferior talent pool within the early stages of the league development.
2. RULE CHANGES
As we’ve already established, the league was still discovering itself and developing during MJ’s career, and as a part of that development, league rules were also a central part of that change. Now, I know what some of you are thinking, but before you start yell “hand checking, hand checking”, keep in mind, Jordan played during a time where the illegal defense rule existed. This is massive because hand checking is really nothing in comparison. The magnitude of the rule doesn’t compare to the significance of the illegal defense. Without the ability to play a zone defense or anything close to it, defensive schemes were less elaborate and teams were unable to send or even show multiple bodies at stars. Can you imagine a league nowadays in which superstars were left with single man coverages? That was the reality. Can you imagine players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant etc being able to basically go one-on-one with a defender who has been left there on an island with no hope in stopping them? It’s crazy when you think about that now in that light. Can you imagine some of the numbers the more modern superstars could have put up with that luxury.
Since the rule was implemented, players such as Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and Carmelo Anthony have all stated if they had to change one rule in the NBA, it would be eliminating the zone defense, which would enable them to be able to fully showcase their offensive talent one-on-one with a defender. MJ had that particular luxury that other scorers didn’t. Another notable rule change is the “best of 5” instead of the “best of 7” playoff series we are accustomed to today. Furthermore, other rule changes include the three-point line being a whole foot closer to the basket for a duration of time. As Jordan was being defeated and beat up by the Bad Boy Pistons, the league looked at and started to implement the punishment for over physical fouls and plays in general, which aided Jordan’s game. This is why when asked about Jordan, Wilt Chamberlin once said “Just remember (Michael), when you played, they changed the rules to make it easier for you to dominate…when I played, they changed the rules to make it harder for me”.
3. MAJOR STATISTICS INDICATE IT WAS IN FACT AN INFERIOR ERA AS WELL
You’d think that if the assumption Jordan played in a better era the numbers would back that up, right? Well they in fact do the opposite. Major stats taken across the board for the duration of his career indicate that Jordan did in fact play in an inferior era to today’s game. The overall Points Per game average was higher despite the fast-paced, more possessions per game we experience today. The Field Goals Made per game was higher, Field Goals attempted across the board were higher on average again despite the supreme pace we see night in and night out nowadays. The overall Field Goal Percentage was also higher. All in all, saving you some reading time, advanced stats are also not favorable. Not to mention basically everything that has to do with outside shooting, the three-point line and overall efficiency being better today.
4. INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE/DEFENSES
This is obvious, but simply put – individual and overall defense were less advanced when Jordan played. I often hear people claiming Jordan “would average 50 in this era”, but let’s be real, he wouldn’t average 50 (no one could do that), and even if he did average a high points per game average, it would be down to the increased pace and more possessions, not because the defenses or defensive players are worse now, because they’re not.
Defensive schemes were extremely simplistic compared to the modern NBA era, and as we’ve established, the rules during this period were a major factor. Defensive knowledge and implementation was significantly worse, with teams not really taking away what other teams or stars liked to do on any given night. Double-teaming, triple-teaming and trapping were non-existent, play calls were less elaborate, timeouts were used less effectively, and the entire tactical side of the game was worlds away from what it is now. The game was definitely more physical but being more physical does in no way shape or form mean the defense was better, because it wasn’t.
5. JORDAN PLAYED FOR A HALL-OF-FAME HEAD COACH, AND WAS A PART OF THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS OF THEIR GENERATION
It’s no secret Jordan destroyed the competition, but it’s very interesting when they praise Jordan for dominating, but discredit today’s competition in comparison. It’s interesting because what people fail to realise is that Jordan played in the 90s version of the Golden State Warriors that we see tear apart the league today. Jordan’s Bulls were absolutely the equivalent in their era. Of course both teams were built and constructed differently, but their dominance and status were the same. Jordan played under the arguably the greatest coach we’ve ever seen in Phil Jackson, with one of the best two way players we’ve ever seen in Scottie Pippen who was an MVP caliber talent, a supreme bunch of role players who were specialist shooters in a time where there were much less than now in Steve Kerr, BJ Armstrong, Toni Kukoc, Craig Hodges and John Paxson, and the greatest rebounder and maybe defender ever in Dennis Rodman. This isn’t to mention other great pieces but you get the point – the overall competition was less and Jordan played in arguably the most dominant team the league has ever seen. Unlike other superstars, Jordan never faced a team in the playoffs or NBA Finals that had a better team or head coach than he did.
6. COMPETITION WAS SIMPLY NOT AS HIGH
We’ve already spoken about competition, and the lack there of, but let’s go a little deeper with this. We live in the golden age of guards nowadays in the NBA, and when you really think about it, not only was the guard position not as strong during MJ’s career, the lack of competition and talent was awful in comparison. When Jordan retired, the Bulls won only two less games the next season, Scottie Pippen was arguably the MVP and the Bulls were a play or call away from going to another NBA Finals, all WITHOUT Jordan. This speaks volumes on both the lack of overall competition, and further evidence of how good and well-coached those Bulls teams were. If competition was as high as people perceive it was, it wouldn’t be possible to lose the best player in the game and remain nearly identical through the regular season as well as knocking on the door for another NBA Finals.
Jordan’s direct competition was also poor. If you think about the players that actually had to check him one-on-one, besides a couple of exceptions the resistance was minimal and laughable in hindsight. I mean, players like John Havlicek and Reggie Miller, really? One of Jordan’s most famous shots ever was over the Cavaliers’ Craig Elho. Elho himself said that moment made him more famous than anything he ever did on the floor and it’s true. Jordan went against Karl Malone and John Stockton in their later years yes, but neither of them were directly checking him, nor can anyone realistically name another person off the top of their head on that roster that was worth mentioning alongside Stockton and Malone. Jordan even went against Gary Payton (who is listed at 6”4’ but isn’t close to that), and Payton actually played him the best out of anyone before getting hurt.
I’m not saying Jordan played against no one, but the overall competition is definitely diluted and misjudged for that period of time. People forget that arguably the two greatest ever defenders actually played alongside Jordan instead of guarding him. He never had to put buckets on Dennis Rodman or Scottie Pippen when it matters most or when a ring was on the line, they were right there next to him in the same jersey. Furthermore, people claim the East is bad nowadays but have quickly forgotten how bad it was at times in those days as well. The 85/86 Bulls went 30-52 and made the playoffs, the 90-91 New York Knicks went 39-43 and made the playoffs, but the 15/16 Bulls go 40-42 missing out on the playoffs, just one of many comparisons that can be made during that time.
We haven’t even discussed the continued globalization of the league which increased the talent pool and competition across the world over time, especially with the European players. Or even dived into the ability and opportunity of generations to learn off the past and better the present.
All in all it’s actually systematically and fundamentally impossible for any professional sport to get worse over time. That’s not opinion that’s just science and the evolution of the game and professional sports in general. I believe it’s hard for the older generation of basketball “greats” to accept and understand, and it’s a reason why they’re quick to discredit and judge the modern NBA player, but it is what it is.
Michael Jordan is absolutely a basketball icon and will forever remain that way, but there are some myths that are alive and thought of as undeniable fact which shouldn’t be the case. This is one of them. The truth is, Michael Jordan played in a less advanced and developed time in basketball, and it’s ok to acknowledge it.
Why this weekend will define Jordan Spieth’s entire season
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — If PGA Tour events were 36 holes, Matt Kuchar would have the lowest scoring average this season, followed by Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose. Fourth on that list is a more surprising name: Jordan Spieth — and that came before he blistered Liberty National to the tune of 67-64 at the Northern Trust Open’s halfway mark.
Spieth looked like the best version of his golf self during Friday’s second round. He drove it poorly but flushed his irons, rolled in a ton of putts and kept his always-frenetic energy under control. He hit just half his fairways but found 15 greens in regulation and poured in eight birdies against just one bogey. Asked about his confidence level after the round, Spieth didn’t hesitate. “Throw me up as high as I can be, yeah,” he said.
Spieth’s play should inspire confidence — but his recent weekend history may give him pause. The last time Spieth opened with a two-day total of 131 was…last week at the Wyndham, when he shot 64-67. “I’m finding new and improved ways to kind of get through the swing a little bit better, and I have no reason not to trust it on the weekend,” Spieth said, sounding upbeat after that round. Then he shot 77 on Saturday, fell 66 spots on the leaderboard and missed the secondary cut.
There were others. Spieth shot 77 on Sunday at Portrush and 76 on Sunday at Pebble Beach. There was the 74-75 weekend at Hilton Head. Ditto at the AT&T Pebble Pro-Am. And of course the Sunday 81 at the Genesis Open, which took him from T4 to T51. He declined to speak to reporters after that one.
Allow me a few more numbers they’re crucial here. Spieth, the fourth-best weekday golfer on Tour, turns to the 172nd-best on Saturdays, just one spot behind Jim Knous. On Sundays it gets worse: Spieth’s 73.00 scoring average ranks 195th. Out of 196. There’s nothing random about that.
In golf, as we know, past performance is hardly a guarantee of future results. There’s no real reason Spieth can’t play well this weekend. He has very tangible incentives to do so. He has to secure his spot in the Tour Championship, which he missed last season. He’d love to send a signal to his Presidents Cup captain, sorely needed after missing the “possible team-members” dinner Tuesday night. And he’d really love to stop giving media members a reason to ask him about this very subject.
The most revealing thing Spieth has said to the press all week came after Thursday’s opening 67, when asked about 20-year-old playing partner Matt Wolff. “I love how aggressively he plays. It’s cool. I definitely know I used to play a little bit more that way, and I kind of need to get back into that.”
Confidence is not as easily practiced as bunker shots. But one of the things you can say about Jordan Spieth is this: he’s willing to put himself out there—again and again and again. I acknowledge it’s not a long list, but perhaps the noblest thing that pro golfers do is to go out each day knowing their efforts will be assessed by a single number by the end. That’s a vulnerable place to be. It’s one reason so many Tour players have trained themselves into emotional flatness.
There’s no flatness to Spieth’s on-course persona, which ranges from “pleasantly manic” to “fully deranged” depending on the day. Whatever scar tissue has built up, he’s willing to get hurt again.
Midway through Friday afternoon, Spieth still held a share of the lead. But Tour events are 72 holes, and they often get harder as you go along. Which is why Jordan Spieth needs his next 36 to measure up — though you won’t get him to admit that.
“I don’t need anything,” he said, then added to it. “Certainly would be nice.”
When was the weekend changed in Jordan? - History
The Pudding explains ideas debated in culture with visual essays.
We pour our ❤️ into these stories, but they take time and money. For just $1/month, you can help support us. Join our growing community of data-driven enthusiasts. Help fund us
Data and methodology
Special thanks to Russell Goldenberg for the coding assist.
This project is not affiliated with the Jordan brand, or its parent Nike. Last updated October 2020.
A visual history of every
Both Michael Jordan and his first Air Jordan shoe burst onto the NBA scene in flashy fashion in 1985. Jordan was named Rookie of the Year. And the Air Jordan I was banned by the NBA, at least according to Nike lore. In reality, NBA commissioner David Stern banned a similar black and red shoe that predated the AJ I for violating the league’s uniform policy. But Nike’s marketing story stuck: the shoe’s were banned and Jordan was charged a $5000 fee (which Nike covered) each time he wore them on the court. This tale of defiance and “brazen charisma” came to define the Air Jordan brand for decades to come.
Release date November 1986
Designer Peter Moore & Bruce Kilgore
The Air Jordan II set the tone for every other shoe in the franchise — quality materials, cutting-edge technology and elegant design. They were the first Air Jordans to cross the $100 retail threshold and the last by original designer Peter Moore and Bruce Kilgore, who also designed the iconic silhouette of the Air Force I. The sneakers were made in Italy with faux lizard skin and ditched the iconic Nike swoosh. Nike’s accompanying 1986 commercial featured MJ effortlessly walking through the air and throwing down his signature “Rock-a-bye Baby” dunk.
Release date January 1988
MJ dominated the 1988 NBA season all while wearing the Air Jordan IIIs. He was named both league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year and soared to his second dunk contest title. With this win, “came an inspiring and memorable image of flight,” and the Jumpman logo was born. The AJ III was designed by Tinker Hatfield, who would go on to become the most prolific Air Jordan designer and the force behind 21 of the 32 sneakers in the franchise. AJ III’s comedic commercial featured Jordan alongside (or rather, under) Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It Mars Blackmon character.
Release date February 1989
MJ’s gravity-defying performances on the court (see “the shot”) no doubt help the Air Jordan franchise’s popularity, but the kicks were also starting to become a pop culture icon away from the hardwood. Jordan again paired with director Spike Lee, and a scuffed AJ IV was featured in a scene that took on race, class and gentrification in his film Do the Right Thing. The sneaker was Jordan’s first global release and gave the wearer the ability to lace up in 18 different patterns to but their own spin on the shoe.
Release date February 1990
Designer Tinker Hatfield took inspiration from Jordan’s dogfight-like flight and biting style, and designed the Air Jordan V with shark-tooth shapes reminiscent of American WWII fighter planes. The sneakers also featured a clear rubber sole, which Hatfield might have borrowed from another iconic shoe he design that year: Marty McFly’s self-lacing Nikes from Back to the Future II.
Wearing his Air Jordan VI, MJ claimed his first NBA championship during the 1990-1991 season with the Chicago Bulls. The silhouette of the shoe was inspired by MJ’s German sportscar, and designer Tinker Hatfield included many firsts and personal touches: it was the first basketball shoe to have a reinforced toe, the first in the franchise to include a loop or “spoiler” on the back of the shoe to help the wearer get them on and off, and if you look closely MJ’s number 23 can be seen in the shoe’s side shapes.
After a season in which Jordan repeated as NBA champion, Finals MVP and regular season MVP, he rocked the Air Jordan VII on the international stage as part of the infamous “Dream Team” that took home gold in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The original sneakers featured MJ’s number 23, but a special Olympic colorway was released with his Team USA number 9. All the designs for the AJ VII were inspired by African Tribal prints. The AJ VII also marked a visible split from Nike branding and a blossoming pairing with Bugs Bunny. The commercial featured Bugs as “Hare Jordan” alongside the original “Air Jordan.”
The Air Jordan VIII debuted the same year that Jordan and the Chicago Bulls cemented themselves as a dynasty by capturing their third consecutive NBA championship. MJ also three-peated as Finals MVP and led the league in scoring for the seventh year in a row. Designer Tinker Hatfield ran wild on these kicks: the AJ VIII is the only model in the franchise to feature crossover straps atop the laces, the tongue sports a fuzzy chenille Jumpman graphic, and the Black/Bright Concord — Aqua Tone colorway made it a “distinctly ’90s sneaker.”
After three years on top, Michael Jordan announced his retirement, a move in part prompted by the murder of Jordan’s father earlier in 1993. Although Jordan took a hiatus from basketball, his brand was still turning out coveted kicks. The shoe represented MJ’s global superstar status and designer Tinker Hatfield incorporated elements from many different cultures. The AJ IX has a “rising sun” on the back with the Jumpman logo and features multilingual translations of Jordan’s attributes like independence, freedom, athletic, and force on the sole.
Jordan traded in his sneakers for basketball cleats and had a brief stint as a minor league baseball player. Nike and long-time designer Tinker Hatfield thought it was the end of Jordan’s basketball career, so they designed with that in mind. The AJ X sole features a list of MJ’s accomplishments from each of his season’s in the NBA. But Jordan was far from done, and on March 18, 1995 he sent the Chicago Bulls a fax with two words: “I’m back.” In his first game back, MJ, wearing the AJ X and the number 45, dropped 55 points on the New York Knicks in the now infamous “double nickel” game. The official commercial for the AJ X even poked fun at Jordan’s career switch suggest that is was all a dream.
MJ was officially back with a vengeance: “En route to one of his most impressive years to date, Jordan clinched MVP, All-Star MVP and Finals MVP before securing his fourth championship ring.” For the AJ XI, designer Tinker Hatfield wanted something that embodied performance and aerodynamics. He drew his inspiration from a shiny convertible body and created the base of the shoe out of patent leather. Jordan reunited with old pal Bugs Bunny for the Space Jam movie, and the AJ XI were featured in a scene that pans upward from MJ’s sneakers to his face.
Release date November 1996
The Air Jordan XII is considered to be one of the most durable Air Jordans of all time. And both the shoe and the legend were in fine form for the 1996-97 NBA season. MJ recorded 38 points in the legendary “Flu Game,” where he battled a 103-degree temperature and still bested the Utah Jazz in Game 5 of the Finals, on his way to his fifth ring. Designer Tinker Hatfield borrowed from the Japanese Nisshoki shoe and Rising Sun flag (the side stitching resembles sun rays). Like many Air Jordan models before it, the AJ XII featured Jordan’s number 23, but this time it was on the tongue and written as “Two 3.”
Release date November 1997
Jordan had a lot of nicknames: “Air Jordan,” “His Airness,” “Jumpman,” but the one that sometimes gets lost is “Black Cat.” The AJ XIII pays homage to MJ’s stealthy prowess with a black panther as the inspiration. Tinker Hatfield designed the outsole to look like a panther’s paw and placed a green holographic eye featuring the number 23, a basketball and the Jumpman logo by the heel. Jordan wore the AJ XIII during the 1997-98 NBA regular season in route to another three-peat and his sixth and final ring.
Release date October 1998
During the 1998 Finals, designer Tinker Hatfield slipped Jordan a prototype for the AJ XIV, asking Jordan not to wear or reveal it. But MJ, took an instant liking to the sneakers and laced them up. Jordan was wearing the AJ XIV when he hit his famed “Last Shot” to clinch his sixth and final championship over the Utah Jazz. This was the last model MJ wore as a Chicago Bull. Like many other shoes in the Air Jordan franchise, the AJ XIV take inspiration from Jordan’s fast cars, this time his Ferrari 550 M (the Jumpman logo is placed in a Ferrari-like crest on the side of the sneaker). Each sneaker also squeezes in a total of seven Jumpman logos, making the pair add up to 14.
Release date December 1999
Jordan retired for the second time at the end of the 1997-98 season and the AJ XV was the first Air Jordan that would never see playing time on his foot. In the commercial for the AJ XV, Jordan embraced his new role outside of the player spotlight as as a savvy businessman. The ad features rising sports stars like Derek Jeter and Ray Allen and MJ himself in a suit. The AJ XV also marked the 13th consecutive Air Jordan model that Tinker Hatfield designed. It would be the iconic designer’s last until he was brought back for the AJ XX. The shoe was modeled after the record-breaking X-15 fighter jet and featured a woven Kevlar aramid fiber upper and a protruding tongue reminiscent of MJ’s own when he would soar in for a dunk.
Release date February 2001
Designer Wilson Smith III
For the first time in over a decade, the Air Jordan franchise had a new designer in Wilson Smith III. The marching boot-like AJ XVI was designed with a detachable magnetic shroud that could “instantly transformed it from technical game shoe to fashion statement.” It mirrored Jordan’s own transition from player to President and part-owner of the Washington Wizards. During the 2001-02 NBA pre-season, MJ’s career morphed again and he surprised the world by coming out of retirement and joining the Wizards as a player. The commercial for the AJ XVI featured a poetic flow from musician Mos Def, proving once again that Jordan’s brand was about way more than a shoe.
Release date February 2002
Designer Wilson Smith III
For Jordan’s first steps back on the court Wilson Smith III designed a shoe that referenced MJ’s mid-air wizardry and his ability to improvise. The AJ XVII was highly personal: inspiration for the silhouette came from Jordan’s Aston Martin, the pattern on the soles was modeled after a golf course Jordan frequented, and music notes referencing Jordan’s love for jazz were included on the lace caps. The ads for the AJ XVII featuring Darius Miles and Ray Allen also included a jazzy soundtrack. The AJ XVII had the heftiest price tag for an Air Jordan to date: $200. But the kicks did come packaged in metal briefcase with an accompanying CD-ROM.
Release date February 2003
MJ stepped off of the court for the last time on April 16, 2003 with the AJ XVIII on foot. First-time Air Jordan designer Tate Kuerbis continued the lineage by taking inspiration from fine design and sports cars: the “rubber heel wrap” was influenced by race car driving shoes and the stitching was modeled after Italian dress shoes. The original Black/Sport Royal colorway was packaged with a towel, brush and a driver’s manual. The AJ XVIII commercial featured a look back at Jordan’s storied career, closing with MJ asking “What is love? Love is playing every game as if it’s your last.”
Before Kobe Bryant was officially deemed the “Black Mamba,” the AJ XIX were modeled after the poisonous African snake. Lead designer Tate Kuerbis continued to push design and technology limits with the AJ XIX. The shoe introduced Tech-Flex to the basketball world. The stretchy, braided fabric resembles reptile scales and conforms to the foot. Although not quite a metal briefcase or packaged with a driver’s manual, the AJ XIX came packaged in a two-tone box that split open to reveal the Jordans.
Release date February 2005
Designer Tinker Hatfield & Mark Smith
Famed designer Tinker Hatfield returned to the helm for the 20th edition shoe in the Air Jordan franchise. Jordan’s life story was laser etched with over 200 icons into the upper part of the AJ XX by Nike’s laser expert Mark Smith. The symbols include: Jordan with his mom in a 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, crossed golf clubs, and a toolbox with the word “POPs” for Jordan’s dad. Along the side spoke and near the back heel, there are 69 dimples to represent MJ’s highest scoring game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 28, 1990. Jordan’s life also took center stage in the commercial for the AJ XX.The brand again teamed up with longtime collaborator, Spike Lee, with the director reading from the storybook of MJ’s life.
Release date January 2006
The AJ XXI embodied luxury. The simple design by first-time Air Jordan designer D'Wayne Edwards let the high quality materials shine. The shoe featured a full grain leather upper, a diamond quilted inner bootie, an embossed number 23, grille-like lower foot vents and a molded heel counter. The AJ XXI also snuck in a hidden message that would only be revealed under black light. When the capital letters of the message were rearranged they spelled out “AUTHENTIC.” As Jordan himself became more removed from his player days, Jordan the brand focused on outfitting and inspiring the next generation of stars. The commercial for the AJ XXI featured young athletes recreating some of MJ’s famous moves.
Release date January 2007
The AJ XX2 had a look that was “built for battle.” Designer D'Wayne Edwards took inspiration from the F-22 Raptor Strike Fighter jet and added rader-like stitching and reflective camouflage. The AJ XX2 also featured the first-ever titanium (atomic number 22) shank plate, a piece that sits between in insole and the outsole and prevents the shoe from folding over on itself.
Release date February 2008
Designer Tinker Hatfield & Mark Smith
The Air Jordan team knew that number 23 in the franchise had to be special — it was the mark of greatest. Designers Tinker Hatfield and Mark Smith put MJ’s DNA into this shoe: Jordan’s thumb print on the tongue, an imprint of his fingerprint as the pattern on the sole, double helix-inspired stitching, and Jordan’s signature on the toe. The AJ XX3 was billed as the “world’s first sustainable basketball shoe,” using Nike’s Considered Design principles. The shoes launched with a “Become Legendary” campaign that with a commercial featuring MJ saying “It’s not about the shoes. It’s about what you do in them. It’s about being who you were born to be.”
Release date January 2009
After releasing shoe number 23, the Air Jordan brand retired the “I - XX3” numbering scheme and adopted year dates instead to honor Jordan’s legacy. The AJ 2009 paid homage to one “the most underrated aspect of MJ’s game: his defense.” The Jason Mayden-designed shoes featured a pleated-silk side panel inspired by Jordan’s belief that man-on-man defense was much like the sport of fencing. The AJ 2009 introduced the basketball world to Articulate Propulsion Technology, famous for its use in prosthetic legs of paralympic athletes. Team U.S. amputee sprinter April Holmes, the first female and first track and field athlete on Team Jordan, helped inspire the use of the new technology.
Release date February 2010
“Inspired by MJ’s ability to see through his opponents,” Tinker Hatfield designed the AJ 2010 with transparent TPU windows on each side. The 25th anniversary shoe was built for speed and featured a thinner outsole and a lower profile tailor for on-court responsiveness. Hidden in the base of the midsole in a graffiti-like treatment was this famous quote from MJ: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” The commercial for the AJ 2010 featured newly signed Team Jordan athlete, Dwayne Wade, as every team’s worst nightmare.
Release date February 2011
Designer Tinker Hatfield & Tom Luedecke
The AJ 2011 featured the franchises first-ever interchangeable midsole. Designer Tom Luedecke compared it to the idea of “selecting a weapon before battle.” The midsoles had two options: the blue “quick” midsole, which placed the wearer’s foot close to the ground and catered to speed and agility and the red “explosive” midsole, which offered more cushion for power plays. On the outside, the bottom was designed to look like elephant hide. NIKEiD was also included for the first time on an Air Jordan shoe, allowing the wearer to customize their kicks.
Release date February 2012
Building off of the interchangeability from the previous year’s model, Tinker Hatfield applied a “One Shoe, Three Flights” concept. The AJ 2012 came with three removable booties to adapt to a player’s game. Wearers had two inner-sleeve choices (low flexibility or high support) and three midsole options (“Quick”, “Air”, or “Explosive”). The shoe’s wingtip shapes were inspired by zoot suits from the 1920s and 1930s. The AJ 2012 was the last model in the franchise to use the year in the name, and the following year returned to traditional roman numerals.
Release date February 2013
Designer Tinker Hatfield & Josh Heard
On the outside, the AJ XX8 is regarded as the most flamboyant and daring design of the franchise, caring the highest price tag ($250) for an Air Jordan shoe. Designer Tinker Hatfield compared it to a concept car: “We’re looking to push for higher levels of performance and actual change the way a basketball shoe, not only performs, but change how it looks.” The entire shoe is covered in a zippable shroud that folds down to reveal a vibrant inner boot a number that is both a 2 and a 3. The AJ XX8 also introduced new technology with the Flight Plate, which provides for a “sprint spike” and allows players to be quicker. The flashy shoes were the perfect match for Russell Westbrook, who rocked his own special “Why Not?” edition.
Release date September 2014
The AJ XX9 was the world’s first woven basketball shoe and set the bar for lightweight performance. The entirely woven upper part of the shoe was influenced by Italian tailoring practices. The shoe technology weaves the strength right into the design — a higher thread count is used on portions that need more support like the forefoot and the heel. The shoe “Tailored for Flight” also employs a redesigned Flight Plate for quicker, responsive moves. The commercial for the AJ XX9 features brand favorite Russell Westbrook and WNBA star Maya Moore, the first woman to sign an endorsement deal with the Jordan franchise.
Release date February 2016
Designer Tinker Hatfield & Mark Smith
For the 30th shoe in the franchise, designer Tinker Hatfield drew inspiration from Jordan’s “otherworldly talents” to create the forward looking AJ XXX. Hatfield started to sketch and drew inspiration from a famous photo of MJ preparing to dunk with the basketball cocked behind his head. XXX, the roman numeral for 30, appears several times in the design, including a graphic that wraps around the heel and on the bottom of the sole. The shoes feature maps on each tongue: Africa on the right shoe, and North America on the left.
Designer Tate Kuerbis, in his first Jordan shoe since 2004, reimagined the very first Air Jordan for the AJ XXXI model. The classic silhouette includes, for the first time ever, the original Air Jordan Wings logo, the Nike swoosh, and the Jumpman logo. The shoes also pay homage to the lore around Jordan’s first pair of kicks being banned by the NBA — “BANNED” is written in big block letters on the sole and in an X on the inside of the tongue. The AJ XXXI, deemed the “anti-gravity machines,” used new Flyweave technology and were the lightest Air Jordans ever made at the time of their release.
Release date October 2017
For the AJ XXXII, designer Tate Kuerbis again referenced a shoe 30 years prior in the AJ II. The AJ XXXII has a lot of heritage elements including the original Air Jordan Wings logo, faux lizard skin and folded leather trim. It sits at the “intersection where luxury craft meets modern innovation,” utilizing all the best technology pioneered by the Jordan brand like Flyknit and FlightSpeed. The AJ XXXII was also the first shoe in the franchine to do a simultaneous release of both the high and the low model.
Release date September 2018
Like the other Air Jordans post XXX, the AJ XXXIII gives a historic nod to one of the first models — this time the AJ III. The AJ XXXIII has an extra large tongue to showcase the Jumpman logo, which was first debuted on the AJ III. The outer straps and pulls reference space flight suits, with Jordan Brand Vice President of Design David Creech saying, “Flight has always been part of our Jordan DNA.” The shoes also feature Nike’sFastFit technology, a tightening system that creates a “full 360-lockdown” for the wearer’s foot.
Release date September 2019
The AJ XXXIV is one of Jordan’s lightest game shoes ever made. The shoes boast the new Jordan Eclipse Plate to help “provide optimal explosion off the foot.” Parent company, Nike called the AJ XXXIV an “exercise in reductive design:” non-essential materials were stripped back, leaving the athlete only what they need. That focus on flight was on full display when NBA rookie and the newest face of the brand, Zion Williamson, threw down a monstrous between-the-legs dunk at the AJ XXXIV’s unveiling in Harlem.
Release date September 2020
The AJ XXXV, dubbed the “Center of Gravity,” builds off of the the previous model’s Eclipse Plate technology for maximum lateral stability and late-game endurance. Like all models, the AJ XXXV features nods to Jordan himself, like the number 23 on the heel, but the colorways draw inspiration from a new generation of Jordan athletes: the red and black “Warrior” colorway references Rui Hachimura’s half-Japanese and half-Beninese background the iridescent blue “Morpho” colorway represents Guo Ailun’s elusiveness on the court the “DNA” colorway, to be worn by Luka Dončić, gives a nod to his fiery fighter plane ethos and the “Bayou Boys” colorway continues Zion Williamson’s tradition of celebrating New Orleans, complete with faux-gator leather.
How Michael Jordan became a brand
Wilson Smith, Nike Design Archivist, and Kevin Dodson, vice president of basketball footwear, discuss the history of designer sneakers for basketball players.
Michael Jordan remains the OG signature shoe king 16 years after his last NBA game and 21 years after his last championship.
Introduced by the Chicago Bulls superstar in 1984 and later marketed by Nike in 1985 as the Air Jordan 1, created the basketball sneaker branding market. In fiscal 2018, Nike revenue from the Jordan Brand line hit nearly $2.9 billion, the company said, part of it coming from buyers who weren’t alive during Jordan’s last title run.
The Jordan Brand stretches from shoes to clothing and gear, including bags, backpacks and hats. Nike last year opened a mash-up of retail store and consumer experience called Jumpman L.A. on downtown Los Angeles’ South Broadway, which includes shoe and clothing customization, virtual reality training simulation and a rooftop basketball court.
But what today seems like the no-brainer that should have enticed bids from every major athletic shoe brand should be viewed more accurately as a first-of-its-kind gamble that almost never happened. Jordan laughed at the “Air Jordan” name, hated the look of the shoe and almost skipped the meeting with Nike.
“He didn’t even want to fool with Nike,” said Roland Lazenby, author of the 2014 book “Michael Jordan: The Life.”
Jordan’s mother, Deloris, Lazenby said, part of a family of former North Carolina sharecroppers who believed strongly in economic empowerment, insisted he attend. “And Nike gave him an unbelievable deal, a 25% royalty. And it would take years before someone else in the shoe industry would get that,” he said.
Nike too needed a lot of convincing. In 1984, Jordan had been part of a historic NBA draft that included one of the league’s best big men, Hakeem Olajuwon one of its most dominant power forwards, Charles Barkley and the league’s all-time best at dishing out assists, John Stockton.
The fact that Nike would wind up throwing virtually all of its shoe marketing money behind Jordan was hardly assured. Lazenby said it took a small cadre of Jordan backers, including Nike marketing legend Sonny Vaccaro, to convince a very skeptical Phil Knight, one of Nike’s co-founders.
“Phil Knight was mildly interested at best,” Lazenby said. “But Vaccaro was relentless, and he soon formed an allegiance with Rob Strasser and with Peter Moore. They were both at Nike, and they were essential guys in driving the whole Jordan idea forward.”
The third intangible, Lazenby said, was Jordan’s play. “He was the guy who could fly,” Lazenby said. “Ultimately it was his competitiveness that wowed global audiences.”
Jordan has been as surprised as anyone about his lasting appeal.
“‘First I thought it was a fad,’” Lazenby said the normally reticent Jordan told him in 2014. “’But it’s far greater now than it used to be. The numbers are just outrageous.”
That, however, doesn’t fully explain Jordan’s remarkable brand staying power at age 55. Three Jordan Brand shoes remain among the current 10 top-selling athletic shoes: the Jordan XI Low, Jordan 1 High OG and the Jordan IX Mid, according to market research firm NPD Group.
“What you have here is a once-in-a-generation athlete who has transcended his sport and has become ingrained not only in the sports world, but in popular culture as well,” said sports marketing expert George Belch, professor and chairman of the marketing department at San Diego State University.
Jordan is “kind of the epitome of cool in many ways,” Belch said. “His influence just seems to go from one generation to the next. He played before they were even born, yet he becomes this very trustworthy, almost timeless brand image that just really seems to represent winning and excellence and everything else.”
How Michael Jordan Became the First Modern African-American Superstar Athlete
Sometime this summer, if the production sticks to its announced schedule, we’ll be treated to Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard debuting in Amazing, a movie sponsored by the NBA, filmed in China, made by a Chinese director and starring Chinese and South Korean actors.
Though it hardly sounds destined to be an Oscar contender—the scant details so far only reveal that NBA commissioner David Stern came up with the name of the film, which is about “young people achieving their dreams through hard work”—it does show how far the NBA has advanced as a global brand as recognizable in Seoul as it is in Chicago.
In this mix, NBA players have become multinational icons of cool: swift, gifted giants on the court personable, charming and rich off of it, the subjects of hip-hop songs and global brand campaigns.
No longer just celebrated athletes, players such as Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal are worldwide celebrities, such that a visit by Kobe Bryant to China can incite mass hysteria.
This transformation of the NBA from a national sports league to a world-spanning brand, as normal as it now seems, has only occurred during the last two decades. It’s mostly attributable to Michael Jordan.
Jordan was the right player at the right time, soaring onto TV exactly as the NBA’s image was ready to be remade and sold across the globe. At the same time, he helped to forge a new African-American image.
Of course, Jordan didn’t start out as a global brand. At first, he was simply an exceptionally gifted basketball player. The icon had to be constructed.
For many American basketball fans, Jordan shot onto the radar during the 1981-82 basketball season, when he started as a freshman on a great North Carolina team that included future NBA stars Sam Perkins and James Worthy.
Jordan capped the team’s tremendous season when he nailed the last shot to beat Georgetown in the NCAA Finals.
He was an All-America pick his next two seasons, and won the Naismith and Wooden awards his junior year, after which he decided to enter the 1984 draft.
Hardly anyone could tell how exceptional he would become, as evidenced when Chicago picked Jordan third, after Houston grabbed Hakeem Olajuwon with the top pick and Portland took Sam Bowie with the second (the unfortunate Bowie is now mostly remembered as the answer to the trivia question: “What player was chosen in the 1984 draft right before Michael Jordan?”).
At the time, basketball pundits primarily compared Jordan to David Thompson, an explosive, high-flying shooting guard during his prime with the Denver Nuggets. While Thompson electrified games with his drives and jams, as a shooting guard he was seen as unable to carry a team on his shoulders.
Jordan, of course, would change that. But his career on the court, from the start, was matched by shrewd positioning off of it.
Before his first NBA season, Jordan’s agent, David Falk, began looking for a shoe contract. In those days, shoe deals bore no resemblance to the mammoth windfalls they are now—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, for example, was said to get $100,000 a year to wear Converse shoes, a fortune at the time.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were thought to get around $70,000 each, which probably wouldn’t even rouse Dwyane Wade from bed today.
Falk had other ideas. When he spoke with shoe companies, he said he didn’t just want his client to wear the shoes. He talked about building a brand by showcasing Jordan’s personality.
He wanted to build a new line of shoes around Jordan, complete with a backing advertising blitz.
A black athlete had never been marketed so heavily, but Falk thought the country was changing and would be receptive. Converse and Adidas—Jordan’s favorite shoe brand at the time—weren't as optimistic.
That left one main option, a Portland-based company then known primarily for the strength of its running shoes.
Nike CEO Phil Knight understood Falk, and Nike made a special presentation to sell Jordan, featuring a line of red and black shoes and clothing.
When Jordan saw it, he said: “I can’t wear that shoe. Those are the devil’s colors.”
They were also the colors of the Chicago Bulls, and Nike ended up signing Jordan to an unprecedented five-year, $2.5 million contract. Jordan, essentially, was going to be the face of the company.
Cosby, Oprah, Jordan
The first Air Jordans, released in 1985, epitomized cool—all black with a red Nike swoosh. Until then, basketball shoes had been mostly white. The NBA reacted by banning the renegade shoes.
Jordan kept wearing them, though, and Nike simply paid the $5,000 fine the NBA assessed each game, surely one of the greatest marketing bargains ever.
This outlaw factor played in with the fact that Jordan, on the court, was a badass. He wagged his tongue before a drive, sported a gold chain, trash-talked and blasted to the hoop for detonating jams.
I was in middle school at the time, and when the first Jordans came out, I begged my mom until she bought me a pair. But the first time I wore them to school, one of my friends mocked me, accusing me of trying to “act black.”
There are a whole lot of assumptions about what is “white” and what is “black” in that phrase—more than my 13-year-old mind could unpack—but the general thrust seemed to be that, as an ungraceful white kid, I could never appropriate Jordan’s swagger for myself. To even try was to become a joke.
The ridicule embarrassed me. I retired the shoes to my closet and only took them out to shoot around on the hoop in front of our garage, if only to justify for my mom the expense of buying them.
Within a few years, though, no one would accuse a kid wearing Jordans of trying to act like anything other than someone with enough money to buy a very expensive pair of shoes.
This was part of the changing times, which Jordan himself helped to push along.
In 1978, the African-American sociologist William Julius Wilson published a controversial book called The Declining Significance of Race. In it, Wilson wrote that for nearly all of American history, an African-American’s economic mobility had been limited by the color of his skin—if you were black, you were only going to get so far before discrimination stopped you.
But after the Civil Rights movement, Wilson argued, some blacks were finding opportunities to advance and move ahead. This, he wrote, was going to create a class division among African-Americans that would see widening disparities among blacks themselves—some would advance into the mainstream while others would remain economically stranded.
Wilson didn’t argue that discrimination had vanished, but that its influence was diminishing such that some African-Americans would have opportunities that had never before been afforded to black people.
In the post-Civil Rights 1970s and '80s, numbers of African-Americans did advance into universities and white-collar professional work. These changes were reflected in the culture, especially on television with The Cosby Show and Oprah Winfrey’s nationwide premier in 1986, shows that presented upper-middle-class African-Americans that many whites felt comfortable with.
Michael Jordan and the creative and business team around him grasped this. As Jordan broke out as a star on the court, Nike’s advertising agency teamed him up with an emerging black director.
The resulting television ads featured Spike Lee as Mars Blackmon—a character he played in his 1986 film She’s Gotta Have It—a Jordan maniac who goofs around with the star and exclaims, “It’s gotta be the shoes!”
The ads worked because they made Jordan look humorous and debonair as Lee extolled his virtues. They personalized Jordan, developed his image and laid a foundation.
Before long, other brands came calling—Jordan would rep McDonald’s, Hanes, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, MCI and Wheaties, among others.
Gatorade even built a campaign around Jordan based on kids singing that they wanted to “Be Like Mike.” Twenty years earlier, it would have been unheard of to run a commercial with a bunch of white kids wishing they could emulate a black man.
This came in part because Jordan seemed to be his own category. As his agent, David Falk, said: “We think he transcends race.”
On the court, Jordan’s performance was unmatched. Not only were there the six championships in the 1990s, but amazing moments such as the “flu game,” Game 5 of the 1997 Finals against the Utah Jazz, in which a desperately-ill Jordan scored 38 points and led the Bulls to the win.
Off the court, Jordan played a different role than earlier black athletic superstars such as Jack Johnson, Arthur Ashe, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Bill Russell—all of them had, due to their prominence, been made into racial symbols.
They had often responded by speaking their minds—there certainly wasn’t a lot of corporate-sponsorship money to lose.
But with so much cash on the line, Jordan stayed quiet. In 1990, Jordan was asked if he would endorse a black Senate candidate and civil rights activist running against segregationist Jesse Helms in his home state of North Carolina. Jordan said he would not: “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”
In this sense, Jordan simply acted like white athletic superstars: After all, we don’t look for political endorsements from Brett Favre or Tim Lincecum. But it did indicate a separation of the black superstar athlete from the politics of black advancement: Jordan safeguarded his economic interests.
While earlier black star athletes had been blocked from cashing in on their fame through commercial work, Jordan succeeded as the embodiment of the businessman, packaging and selling his image as efficiently as Starbucks moves lattes.
The desire not to offend went perfectly with David Stern’s mission to turn the league into a world-spanning marketing juggernaut on par with entertainment corporations such as Disney, of which he said: “They have theme parks, and we have theme parks. Only we call them arenas. They have characters: Mickey and Goofy. Our characters are named Magic and Michael.”
This focus on selling individual personalities had started with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, but went entirely beyond with Jordan, who had the creative minds at companies such as Nike and McDonald’s at his back.
Pushing superstars made the game easy to grasp, but also made the league dependent on generating compelling personalities to maintain interest.
It also diminished the fact that it’s still a team game: Bird needed Kevin McHale and Robert Parish Magic teamed with James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jordan only won when he had backup from teammates such as Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman.
One wonders how the marketing affected Jordan, who became more and more isolated from his teammates as his fame increased and he had to worry that any private thoughts he shared would end up in the media.
But this star-focus is essentially the model we have today, one in which players are expected to flash easy smiles and sand down the rough edges. The biggest threats to the league are fiascos such as the 2004 Pacers-Pistons brawl, which led to racially coded accusations that the players are “thugs.” (Why has that label never been stuck on Ben Roethlisberger?)
Even Michael Jordan, with his gambling habit and ultra-competitive, combustible personality, could only live up to the image when certain of his traits were ignored.
In essence, Jordan had to be reduced to his simplest aspects for the marketing to work, his image boiled down and sugared-up to appeal across the globe.
This hit me in 1997, when I was in Dakar, Senegal. It was the first time I had been overseas and away from all things “American.”
One day, making my way through the city, I was shocked to turn a corner and encounter a massive billboard right in the middle of Dakar: There was Michael Jordan, soaring past Sam Perkins of the Seattle SuperSonics, freeze-framed at the height of his ascent, the ball palmed in his hand. A Nike swoosh adorned the bottom right-hand corner of the image.
What interest, I wondered, could Michael Jordan possibly be to people in Senegal, a country without a basketball tradition and one in which the vast majority of the population has nowhere near the income to buy Air Jordans if they wanted them?
Gazing up, it was as if Jordan had indeed soared beyond basketball. He was a symbol of mastery, not only of a game but a whole global system, his shoes produced in factories across Asia, his product sold in showcase boutiques in world capitals, his image made ubiquitous by satellites and advertising.
Far beyond the worries of the people below breathing in the hot, polluted air, he was rising above us, ready to jam it down.
It was no wonder the whole world wanted to Be Like Mike.
To learn about Doug Merlino's e-book, The Crossover: A Brief History of Basketball and Race, from James Naismith to LeBron James, click here.
David Halberstam’s Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made is a thoroughly reported look at Jordan’s basketball career and business interests.
Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism, by Walter LeFeber, makes the case for Jordan as a point man for globalization.
Michael Jordan, Inc.: Corporate Sport, Media Culture, and Late Modern America, edited by David L. Andrews, has some interesting essays if you can get past the academic jargon.
How the N.B.A. Has Changed Since “The Jordan Rules”
In November, 1991, when the Chicago Bulls were in their second championship season of the decade, the journalist Sam Smith published “The Jordan Rules,” an insider’s account of the previous season, in which Jordan won his first ring. The book documented the star’s hyper-competitive personality and frequently off-putting, egotistical behavior. Smith had spent many years writing for the sports section of the Chicago Tribune, and his book aired numerous stories about Jordan that had, until then, only circulated through rumors and gossip. “The Jordan Rules” came to be known as an unvarnished look at one of the most famous athletes in the United States. Smith went on to write two more books about Jordan: “Second Coming” and “There Is No Next.”
The abrasive demeanor originally chronicled in “The Jordan Rules” became a topic of conversation again this spring, when ESPN released “The Last Dance,” a ten-part documentary series about Jordan’s life and career. The series, which arrived on Netflix on July 19th, does not present Jordan as flawless, but it was made with his oversight: Jordan gave the filmmakers exclusive rights to decades-old video, and he was given the opportunity to give notes on episodes.
I recently spoke by phone with Smith, who now writes for Bulls.com, the official Chicago Bulls Web site. His most recent book is “Hard Labor: The Battle That Birthed the Billion-Dollar NBA.” During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed his relationship with Jordan over the past three decades, his problems with the documentary, and whether a book like “The Jordan Rules” could be written today.
Did you have any role in the making of the documentary?
Other than being interviewed, other than being furniture, no. I was around, basically, through Jordan’s entire career, so I guess they had to get around to me eventually. I wasn’t sure they would, though.
Did you hear anything from the director about what Jordan felt about your being interviewed?
I knew they were doing these interviews over more than a year, which was fine. I had written three books on him, [the last of which was] “There Is No Next”—the title referring to the idea that there was Kobe [Bryant] and LeBron [James] and all these “next Jordans.” I just wanted to make the case that there is no next Jordan—this is the last in the mold, because of his impact in the world and society, and just beyond basketball. That he’s just not only a basketball player. He’s an influencer, as they say these days.
In terms of being an influencer, if that’s the word we’re going to use, I think LeBron is similar in certain ways.
No. I don’t think so at all. I’ve never seen anybody skipping down in the commercials, saying, “Be like LeBron.” Obviously, it was commercial and marketing and all, but Jordan changed so much in the world and society—the long shorts, the shaved head, and, obviously, the sneakers. The sneakers were a revolution. Nobody thought that sneakers would be a fashion statement back in the early nineteen-eighties. Nobody thought it mattered if you put a player’s name on a sneaker.
Bill Walton tells this story: Nike came to him and said, “We’d like to produce this sneaker, the Bill Walton sneaker.” And Bill said, “Who’s going to buy sneakers because my name’s on it? It’s ridiculous.” Jordan comes along and endorses it. I remember friends of mine would be in Russia, and they sent me home these nesting dolls—the Bulls with Jordan and Pippen—things you would never see anywhere else. And you don’t see that with LeBron. LeBron’s a big figure and a great player, and he has an influence in society, but it didn’t change anything. Nobody has changed anything because of LeBron James.
What about the ways in which people see athletes, and the way athletes have power within the sport, particularly within basketball? The so-called player-empowerment era.
Yeah, that’s in basketball. And that’s why I say there’s always been guys in basketball—if you want to talk about that, nobody changed it more than Wilt [Chamberlain]. Jordan had an influence on society. I’m not going to diminish LeBron. I think LeBron’s great. I love LeBron. I think he’s a great figure.
We got derailed, but I had asked you if you heard that Jordan was upset about you—
Yeah. I had an uneasy history with Michael over the years. It was fine. Michael became a billionaire, and I’m doing the same job. I’m pleased, and I’m happy with what I do. And I’m fortunate to be able to continue to write about basketball and the N.B.A. It’s not like I hindered Michael, given his financial success. But “The Jordan Rules” was bothersome to him at the time, and controversial. I used to have a good relationship with him before the book came out. I wasn’t a close friend, but we would joke when I was around the team. We travelled commercial together, and all that sort of stuff.
When he came back to the N.B.A., in 1995, he was fine. He’d gotten a lot out of his system, playing baseball and all, and I had a couple of one-on-one interviews, but it was sort of a professional, arm’s-length relationship. And I’ve seen him a couple of times in Charlotte, when I travelled with the Bulls in recent years. And he would say, “Hey, how are you doing?” That kind of stuff.
Anyway, I’d heard they’d done a lot of these interviews. And people I was friendly with, like Phil Jackson, would say to me, “Hey, I did this interview for this Jordan thing. Did you?” I thought, Well, hey, they’re just skipping me. And that’s fine. I didn’t need to be in it. I’d done enough Jordan. I really was moving on. In fact, going back, I wouldn’t say it was painful and all, but I adjudicated this thirty years ago. I didn’t want to go through it again.
Then I got a call from the director, and he said, “Hey, could you sit down? We’re doing this.” I tell people I’ve spent a career asking people questions and asking for their time, so it would be inappropriate for me to say, “No, I’m too busy,” or “I don’t want to do it.” So I do these things.
Jordan has never said a word to me about “The Jordan Rules.” Never once, in thirty years. At the end of the interview, I said, “Hey, tell me something. Did you have to ask Michael permission to talk to me?” And the guy kind of stammered a little bit. And he said, “Well, we actually did ask him if it was O.K.” And I said, “Well, what’d he say?” He said, “I don’t give a fuck who you talk to.” The way I understood it is, he didn’t say whether they could or could not. They weren’t sure whether they should.
Was it the director who said this?
Yeah, I think so. But I don’t know who I was talking to. There’s always a bunch of guys who come and do these things it’s always, like, six people. And I didn’t know who they were. I’d never heard of them or talked to them before.
I read your book as arguing that Jordan embracing team concepts was helpful to him finally winning, while it seemed like the documentary was arguing that Jordan’s hyper-competitiveness was fundamentally all about winning. Do those seem like different theses to you?
That’s an interesting point. I hadn’t thought about it that way. I thought there were a couple of team-oriented events that validated Phil Jackson’s belief that Jordan had to integrate himself among this team. When he first met Michael, as an assistant on the Bulls, he said, “You can’t be the scoring champion and win a title.” Michael initially was offended. So Phil was trying to bring him along, and it ended up this great scene, which they mention in the documentary, and I wrote about in “The Jordan Rules,” of Phil saying, “Who’s open?” And Paxson makes the shot, so he gets his title.
I thought the documentary was more “based on a true story.” I think there was a little bit of drama put into it. It was Michael’s story. It wasn’t a journalistic documentary, per se. And it shouldn’t be. He never told his story before. People never heard it from his standpoint, and that’s what it was.
Do you feel like you understand him better from it?
No. I understood him. And a lot of what they dramatized in the documentary was for the sake of the story. If you take a sentence about how Jordan yelled at this guy, or hit this guy, it sounds like he’s mean and a bully or whatever. I think they played up some of those things in the documentary.
But I think the documentary missed that point with Jordan. He won a national championship with North Carolina, went to the Olympics and won a gold medal. He transcended everybody else. So he’s coming into the N.B.A. ready to win. He’s ready to knock off [Larry] Bird and Magic [Johnson]. But [the Bulls leadership] decided to blow up the team, and started rebuilding with Michael as the front man—Mick Jagger without the Rolling Stones in the background.
So Jordan dragged these guys, and he’s getting swept in every playoff series. And now he’s four or five years into his career, and they bring in these babies, who are immature, [Scottie] Pippen and [Horace] Grant. He’s just growing exceedingly frustrated, competing with Bird and Magic from Day One, when the organization was interested in competing with the next group of guys. And I think that was always the source of Jordan’s behavior, that he wasn’t some sort of ogre or bully, that he was just so frustrated in his competitive drive, but also what was going on behind the scenes.
One thing about the documentary that I didn’t quite understand is that it presents him as as the most competitive person on earth, but also presents him as willing to retire after 1998, at least until he came back to the Wizards, several years later. Why do you think he left, and do you think the documentary got that right?
No. That was the one thing. Everybody has a different view of things. That’s why, in the detective TV shows, they go interview eight witnesses. And that’s what journalism is. You can’t ask one person. Everybody’s always the hero of their own story.
The fight with Steve Kerr, the pizza poisoning, I was kind of, like, Whatever, that’s Michael’s story, let him keep to it. But then when he said at the end [of the documentary] that he wanted to come back [for the 1999 season] and give it another chance, that was just too much. That was, to me, like, No. I’ve got to say something here. Because that’s really untrue. He could’ve come back. He didn’t want to come back. He had plenty of chances to come back.
Michael Jordan is such an independent figure. He could play for anybody, anytime. He was so burned out from that season. He saw what was going on. The team was completely crumbling under him. At thirty-five years old, having not missed a game for three and a half years, which was a remarkable period of consistency and play, he was just exhausted and overwhelmed.
Do you think a book like yours could be written now?
There are great journalists now who could write a book like that. They just can’t get the access that I had. Whatever times you go back to in history, you don’t get the letters like Jefferson and Adams were writing to each other saved. We’re not going to be able to save all the e-mails, and history is not going to have them. I was embedded, essentially, with that team. We travelled together, commercial. The N.B.A. rule then was you had to be on a plane with twelve first-class seats, and the roster was twelve players. So I sat in coach, and I sat with the coaches.
We were all in the same hotel. The Marriott was an upgrade. We’d be at the airport Sheraton or Holiday Inns and stuff, like, whatever. Team buses were open to the media. You could just walk onto the team bus and sit down with anybody you felt was willing to sit with you, if they wanted to. Michael, back then, had a couple of buddies from North Carolina. He used to meet them on the road occasionally, but, if they didn’t show up, he’d ask me or one of my colleagues to come up to the room, hang out, play some cards. Or Ping-Pong, because he’d have a table sent up.
That doesn’t exist anymore. These guys now, like, they call themselves, they’re brands. They hire an entire staff. That kind of wealth didn’t exist back then.
Yeah, I had extraordinary access that doesn’t exist anymore, in any form. You can develop relationships. Media guys still develop the relationships. But these men and women who do that now have to produce something, like, every two hours. I would make other calls. I would check on things. I would hang out with players. The Bulls practiced in a public health club. I joined it as a member. So when they would lift weights after practice, I would be next to them. I wouldn’t lift weights, but I would be sitting with them. Now everything is privacy. The locker room was just open.
For a 7 P.M. game, Jordan would come at, like, 3 P.M. or something, so I’d get there and just talk with him for three hours. Now you’ve got ten minutes with guys, if that. LeBron is celebrated for being one of the few in the whole league who comes out before the game and gives the media five minutes. Jordan gave everybody three hours.
How do you balance independent journalism and working for Bulls.com, which is part of a team?
It’s a balance. It’s a little different. There have to be some omissions. The Bulls, I give them a lot of credit, and it’s been a good fortune for me, because I certainly wouldn’t have a lot of opportunities. American business is not that interested in older people. So I’ve been very fortunate to be able to continue to write about the N.B.A. and a team, as I get into my seventies now. [Bulls Chairman] Jerry Reinsdorf was involved with the M.L.B. site and baseball. They were the first Internet sites, really, in sports that were very successful. And I think he understood about having some independence. So I’ve been set up as independent. I’m not a Bulls employee. I don’t have access to the Bulls any differently than any media. I’m not at practice. I have the same rules as the rest of the media.
And they don’t censor what you say—
No. There have been a couple, I’m not going to—it’s their Web site. And I just submit it. I would say, maybe once or twice in twelve years, they haven’t used something I’ve sent them. There’s some self-censorship now, but one thing I’ve always done, even when I worked for the Chicago Tribune, was I never lobbied for anybody to lose their job. I don’t like that in sports, where media people are saying, “This guy should be fired.” That’s somebody else’s job, to decide whether somebody should keep their job. And a job is a sacred thing. And it’s not my place to decide that somebody should lose their method of income and well-being. I’ve never done that. I’ll second-guess the coach, and second-guess some things they do, but, as long as it’s just about the game, I feel it’s fair play. Now, I’m not going to write a story that says they should make the owner sell, or something like that. Obviously, they’re not going to use that. But, look, when I was working for the Tribune—it’s no great secret, especially in media now, with so much corporate control, there are some topics that are off limits, that if you write some stuff, even in a newspaper, it might not get in, either.
What did you think of the portrait of Scottie Pippen in the documentary, and how do you look at his relationship with Jordan now?
I don’t think their relationship is good now. I know Scottie was hurt by his portrayal. He was hurt, I believe, when Michael said he was selfish when he sat out.
I think he was maybe not upset, maybe hurt. Because I think he valued Michael. I think he was at Michael’s wedding when he got remarried. So they’ve always had an ambivalent relationship, that Scottie would like to be in Michael’s group, because, obviously, being around Michael, the spotlight shines brighter, but Scottie never saw himself as a sycophant. And Michael tends to treat the people around him as, maybe not servants, but helpers. And Scotty would resent, at times, Michael’s treatment of him as less than an equal. I think he drifts back and forth in the relationship. And I think, with the documentary, his thing is probably to drift away a little bit. But I could see him coming back again.
The N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver, along with other people, has talked about players’ mental health in the league, and one of the things they’ve discussed is that the guys don’t communicate with each other as a team in the way they used to, that the closeness of players is not what it once was. Going back and reading your book and watching the documentary, it was striking to me that, in some ways, it feels like that’s right. At the same time, there were all these fights in practice, and punches thrown, and all this passive-aggressive stuff, which I think is probably beyond what is mostly going on now, at least as far as we know. How do you compare the eras?
I think [the relationships are] more distant because players hired their friends, basically. Now many of the players come so young that often their mothers or family members will come to live with them. They were much more mature when they came to the N.B.A. then. Michael Jordan went to college for three years. Now it would be inconceivable that somebody of Michael Jordan’s talent would be in college for three years. That’s one factor.
The other is Phil Jackson. One of his strengths that was often overlooked or unappreciated was this great ability he had to bring a group together. He grew up in congregations. His parents were Pentecostal ministers. So he treated his team like a congregation, and with a combination of being aware of the needs of the individual while also promoting and celebrating the group. I wasn’t in a lot of the yoga sessions, but I’d be on the bus, and we would be in, like, Seattle. And he would go, “We’re going to Portland.” Everybody else flew. He said, “We’re going to take the bus, because I want you guys to see what the countryside is, the beautiful countryside up here.” So we’re taking a bus from Seattle, we’re getting off, having to eat.
He would do that in Texas. We would do that when we were in Houston and San Antonio. We would drive, we’d get off, we had lunch somewhere, meet people. He would do these things all the time, and the players would get a sense of being part of something. Nothing like that exists anymore. They have their own trainers and they have their own staffs, and they don’t even want to work out with the team half the time.
And a lot of that is economics. They don’t have to. They can afford to. Like we were saying, they do their own blogs, they have their own people write their own stories, and they become these incredible independent corporations. These guys are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. You can’t duplicate what went on back then.