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The Jumpman Logo – What Does It Mean?

Jumpman artwork designed by Black Mansion

Who is Michael Jordan?

michael jordan image
Micheal Jordan displaying his 6 NBA Championship Rings.

On the list of the 50 greatest NBA players to have ever walked the earth. Michael Jeffery Jordan is one of those men that you would call bigger than basketball, through which we know them. 

Born on February 17, 1963, MJ as he is fondly called by fans, played basketball in the NBA actively for 14 years before retiring. Interestingly, Jordan did not start his love of sports with basketball. He began with baseball. Two distinctly different games, but that was Jordan. A multi-talented and hardworking player unlike any other sports figure we’ve ever witnessed. 

Although Michael’s childhood consisted of playing baseball with his dad, he decided to follow in his older brother Larry’s footsteps and started training for basketball. 

He had tried to join the varsity team in high school as a sophomore, but wasn’t selected because of his small size. Additionally, his skills were quite unrefined as a sophomore, but Jordan did not back down. As Michael trained the summer before his junior year, the odds were in his favor, as he grew 4 inches before the fall began. Michael kept working, and as a senior, he was selected to join the McDonalds All-American team. This ultimately kick-started his journey as a basketball player.

The Little Wins

In 1984, Jordan won the Naismith College player of the year and went on from there to enter the NBA draft. 44 awards later, and his named stamped on our hearts as one of the greatest of all times. On October 6th, 1993, following the murder of his father on 23rd of July 1993. Michael Jeffery Jordan retired from basketball, saying “he no longer had the desire to play”.

The inception of the Jumpman Logo

jumpman photo from 1987
The original Jumpman photo taken in 1984.

The Jumpman logo was created from a picture of Jordan leaping for a dunk, it was made into a silhouette and thus became the Jumpman logo.

The original picture was taken for the 1984 life magazine shoot. At the time, Jordan had only recently entered into full-time contract with Nike- the company who branded the shoes on which the logos rest till this day. In the photo, he is seen wearing his coveted Jordan 1’s, his original sneaker. This picture had caught the interest of Nike designer Peter Moore, who had design the silhouette into a sketch. The sketch, later seen by designer Tinker Hatfield (lead designer of Air Jordans), was designed into a logo and placed on the Air Jordan III. 

The first iteration of Michael Jordan’s logo used famously on the Air Jordan I & II.

It’s important to note, that the previous Air Jordan I and II had the original Jordan Logo. It consisted of a simple basketball with wings attached. While the original is still used on both the Air Jordan I & II, it did not (and to this day would not) have the tremendous impact and notoriety of the Jumpman logo.

The Birth Of The Jumpman Logo

jumpman sketched logo
a sketch of the Jumpman Logo

Following the inspiration conducted by Tinker Hatfield, from the Peter Moore sketch in 1988, the Jumpman logo was trademarked and used on the Air Jordan III. Looking back, this was one of the best decisions in sports, made in regard to Jordan’s brand representation. The new Jumpman logo did a substantially better job conveying who Jordan was. It revealed a silhouette of him flying through the air, while embodying everything that made him so loved, respected and revered. This logo defined all that there is to “His Airness.” 

The Jumpman mentality

michael jordan buzzer-beater
Michael Jordan’s famous buzzer-beater

Michael Jordan was often fondly referred to as ‘His Royal Airness.’ This was due to his zero-gravity jumping ability. His ability to fly through the air earned him the name the Jumpman. Both nicknames stuck with Jordan throughout his career, further cementing the iconic logo on his top-selling shoes.

Jordan Brand art sculpture

Jumpman Logo symbolism 

After the Jumpman logo hit the streets, via his shoes, other basketball stars fell in love with the idea and followed suit. Most players weren’t able to captivate their audience quite like Jordan, which lead to many failed collaborated sports brands. This is another remarkable accolade that for Michael, as the Jumpman logo was the first logo to captivate sports fans and shoe collectors alike.

Every time you look at the Jumpman logo, you’re reminded of “His Royal Airness.” The logo transcended the game of basketball to represent so much more than the sport. It visually provides that nothing should step in your way of reaching for the stars. The Jumpman logo symbolizes the ease it takes for Jordan to get off the floor and leap for the basket. Ease that was built through years of training, consistency, growth, and hard work. The Jumpman symbolizes all these things.

A Sportsman Like No Other

Off the court, Michael Jordan is one of the most resilient humans the world has ever seen. This began when he was a child and has helped him to carry his success into retirement with business ventures. After being rejected at a young age, for being too small and unskilled, he came back with a vengeance. Michael was always willing to train harder and work smarter. Lastly, his childhood is used to this day as a motivational example of pushing yourself past your own limitations when faced with adversity.

Never Give Up

Imagine if Jordan had relented and decided to give up after being rejected his sophomore year. We wouldn’t be having this discussion about the mentality of the Jumpman, and the impact of the Jumpman logo. To achieve greatness, you have to work hard. We have all heard this countless times from our parents, teachers and sports coaches. Everything is easier said than done, and Michael has been able to walk the walk. Looking back on his illustrious career, he accomplished what he set out to do. Michael Jordan never gave up.

With 34 Air Jordan shoes rolled out, including a clothing line, we can all agree that the Jumpman logo symbolizes much more than the man who leaped higher than gravity is supposed to allow.

Jumpman dunk during basketball game
Michael Jordan representing the Jumpman in Paris.

Thank You for Reading!

Checkout some of our work on our portfolio page! Contact us if you’re interested in creating a timeless brand as Michael Jordan has created through his famous insignia.

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