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Thursday, June 4, 2020

15 NIKE Poster Cards Type 1 290850 - 290851 The Jordan Era Begins

In October 1984, after skipping his senior year in college Michael Jordan signed a  five-year, $4-million contract with the Chicago Bulls. He also signed a 5 year contract with Nike which paid him $500,000 annually, plus royalties after the company promised to name a new shoe after himThe first Air Jordan sneaker worn by Jordan , are reportedly the ones shown below. 

290850  AIR JORDAN    1985

Nike released the first Air Jordans to the public in April of 1985. Nike quickly started using Jordan posters as part of their “Air Jordan” advertising campaign. The first two posters that came out in 1985 were 290850 and 290851 “Air Jordan” and “Freeze Frame” . 

They were  issued out of numerical sequence. The reasons for this are unknown but possibly they were issued out of sequence to match the Air Jordan marketing campaign that was rushed into place. We know they were issued in 1985 since we have found them on the order form of that date which we have shown you in blog 5 and it was included in the 1985 Nike promo card set. 

        The iconic 290250 “Air Jordan” should be considered as Michael Jordan’s rookie card since it clearly was available before his 1986 Fleer card. 

Kuhn the NIKE photographer noted that he shot Jordan for the Jumpman poster over two days in Chicago at a playground framed by the Chicago skyline.  

Jordan has noted that “‘I wasn’t even dunking in that shot. People think that I was. I just stood on the floor, jumped up and spread my legs and they took the picture. I wasn’t even running. Everyone thought I did that by running and taking off. Actually, it was a ballet move where I jumped up and spread my legs".

290251 Jordan Freeze Frame  1985

Jumpman was followed by 2902451 “Freeze Frame” which shows a Jordan Dunk in slow motion stills. 

Ortreasures remembers printing Freezeframe in the 1986/87 time period and the history was complex. "We had to print the poster at least 4 different times with different images because Nike didn't have NBA permission. The first print run of Freeze Frame had double reel image (the print run was destroyed), the second printing had the Chicago Bulls logo instead of Air Jordan logo in bottom right corner ( I think that version was destroyed too) Finally Nike got NBA/Chicago Bulls permission to have MJ in uniform and we did a 3rd printing which is the single reel image with Air Jordan logo the same image as the poster card." Ortreasures remembers this happening in the 1986/1987 time frame, although the poster card was listed on the 1985 order form. So it is possible that they planned to release it in 1985, but legal issues held it up for awhile.

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