The Nike Air Ship was the Jordan 1 before the Jordan 1. In reality, this was the very first shoe that Michael Jordan wore on court back in 1984. The Air Ship was basically the blueprint for the Air Jordan 1 and was a mid-top shoe. It featured a total of 8 eyelets compared to the 9 eyelets on the Air Jordan 1 and featured a lateral strap towards the throat of the shoe with laces going through the strap and then down into the layer of leather underneath. The layer under the strap was cut out in the shape of a ‘V’ to provide better flexibility during movement on court. Another striking feature on the Air Ship was the lack of a leather overlay around the collar. This overlay appeared only on the Air Jordan 1 bearing the signature basketball-with-wings logo. The Air Ships were unique in another aspect as they featured a full length thin strip of leather going from the back of the collar all the say way down to the heel with Nike and Air appearing only in text form. Out of the five colorways that Nike released for the Air Ship, MJ wore three and it was the Black/Red colorway in particular out of these three that got banned by the NBA.
In a letter dated October 18th, 1985 from NBA to Nike, the NBA stated that Michael Jordan had violated the “Uniformity of Uniform” policy. The funny part being, the first ever Jordan 1 officially laced up by Michael was on November 17th, 1985. Apparently, Nike banned the Air Ships and not the Air Jordan 1. The Nike Air Ships that MJ wore were a size 13 on the left foot and a size 13.5 on the right foot. This also holds true for the Jordan 1’s he wore in the OG colorway.
The 12-2-84 mentioned on the midsole of the White/Red Air Ships refers to the day MJ gave the shoes to the Lakers’ Ball Boy in a nail biting finisher where the Bulls beat the Lakers by 1 point. The shoes later hit the auction block on 26th April 2015 and went for a whopping $71,554! It did not dwarf the amount fetched by the sale of the 1997 NBA Finals Game Worn Original Flu Game Air Jordan 12’s that sold for $104,765.