We generally link European sports teams with sponsors such as Nike and Adidas. Most major sports teams are sponsored by these brands. Of course, we have the odd Umbro sponsored team, and New Balance is trying their best to break into football. But we have never really seen Jordan Brand venture away from American sports until their unique partnership with French football powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain. Better known as PSG, the world-class outfit broke away from solely using Nike and became the first team to be sponsored by Jordan Brand too.
The deal was lucrative for both PSG and Jordan. Paris is at the heart of the fashion world whilst also having one of the best football teams. Jordan Brand needs no introduction within the American sports scene, thanks to Michael Jordan’s undeniable success. They also require little introduction to sneaker and streetwear addicts due to the ever-growing success of the Jordan sneakers. Many of the silhouettes often referred to as grail-status. But Jordan Brand had never really broken into the European sports market, until now.
In honour of their upcoming sneaker releases, we take a look at how the partnership came about, what it means for both brands and what the future looks like for PSG x Jordan.
How did it come about?
The love story began way back in 2018 when Jordan decided to spread its wings and swap the court for the pitch. They joined with French football team Paris Saint-Germain on a deal that would see them release co-branded apparel and sneakers. This deal was a massive step in the direction of global domination for a sportswear brand synonymous with America’s favourite pastime, basketball.
Paris was most definitely the perfect place for Jordan Brand to begin their transition into European sports. Already known as the fashion capital of the world, PSG also had some of the world’s biggest stars playing for them. Neymar is one of the most well-known athletes in existence, and has been an avid Air Jordan collector his entire career; this is well documented. He also boasts a multi-million-pound contract with Nike. Pair this with the fact Neymar was the first-ever football player to have a signature Air Jordan sneaker; you can see why Jordan Brand wanted to link back up with the Brazilian wizard.
Another player that would have most definitely impacted Jordan’s decision on partnering with PSG was the involvement of Kylian Mbappé. Mbappé shot to superstardom after helping the French national team win the World Cup in 2018 at the tender age of nineteen. Shortly after, PSG would sign Mbappé from Monaco for a whopping £120,000,000 fee. Neymar also cost PSG £200,000,000 to lure him away from Barcelona. Jumpman’s football frontmen are worth well over a quarter of a billion pounds in the footballing world. An excellent place for Jordan Brand to start in their quest to dominate the footballing world, enlisting the two most expensive footballers of all time to don their kits.
PSG x Air Jordan 5 and the 2018 capsule
The Jordan Brand x PSG capsule consisted of 25 separate pieces. We saw Jordan x PSG lifestyle products release, such as beanies and a parka. We also saw the teams alternative football jersey release which was to be worn in the UEFA Champions League, Europes most significant cup competition. Jordan Brand even dipped their toes into the world of football boot creation, dropping two pairs of the exclusive boot.
The most significant part of the entire capsule was the Air Jordan 5 Retro Paris Saint-Germain, though. The sneaker came dressed in the team’s colours, featuring black and red throughout with the PSG logo on the heel where the Jumpman is typically found. This release was so significant as this was the first time Jordan Brand had allowed a football club to take over one of their legendary silhouettes.
PSG x Air Jordan 1
After taking over the legendary Jordan 5 made famous by Michael Jordan in the ’90s, Saint-Germain decided to continue shooting for the stars and created their version of the most iconic Jordan their is, the AJ1.
They created a retro High and Low version of the sneaker, which once again featured their trademark colours. An extremely minimalist take on the Jordan 1, PSG fully blacked out the high rendition. The only colour to feature was the red and white striped banner we see on the team’s shirts. This emblem featured on the midsole and tongue of the sneaker.
Also dressed in mostly black was the less sought after low-top. The pop of colour came from the ‘PANAME’ tab. Paname is a nickname for the French capital city, Paris. The tab featured on the heel of the sneaker and would feature again in future drops. An abstract pattern also features across the back of the low, with the PSG badge returning to the heel.
PSG x Air Jordan 6
The next silhouette we saw the legendary Parisian outfit takeover was the Air Jordan 6. A sneaker Jordan himself loved, often wearing the AJ6 ‘Infrared’ when playing. The silhouette saw a resurgence in its popularity between the PSG collab and the ever-popular Travis Scott version. The PSG AJ6 was not all that different from the ‘Infrared’, featuring a mostly black upper with pops of red throughout the sneakers design. The primary difference we saw was the inclusion of grey coloured panelling. The uppers contrasting panels perfectly complement the bursts of PSG branding throughout the entirety of the shoe. A ‘PANAME’ tab again features on the back of the sneaker, a further nod to the city that PSG call home. You will also find the word Paris on the sneakers iconic lace toggle for that final confirmation that this sneaker is to honour the French capital.
PSG x Air Jordan 4
This year’s collaboration sees the sportswear giants give the champions of French football the chance to create a one-of-a-kind AJ4. The Air Jordan 4 has seen a resurgence of sorts over the last few years. Travis Scott’s debut Jordan sneaker was the Air Jordan 4 and was an instant classic. In 2020 alone, we have seen Virgil Abloh and Off-White create a women’s version of the Jordan 4. Union LA has also created two extremely hyped colourways of the silhouette drop.
The Off-White and Union LA versions have had sneakerheads fighting over each other to get a pair. Both instantly in the discussion for sneaker of the year. But could the understated PSG collaboration be the best of the three?!
The sneaker comes dressed in an extremely clean white and grey upper, with pops of Bordeaux burgundy throughout to contrast the minimalist design perfectly. This collaboration ventures away from the traditional colours of PSG for the first time, opting to tone it down for a sleeker appearance. That same ‘PANAME’ tag can be found on the front of the sneaker. Two legendary logos become one as we see the PSG x Jumpman logo on the heel.
The capsule releasing alongside the Jordan 4 sees more lifestyle items drop. A tracksuit in the same colourway the pick of the lot. Jordan will also be dressing the team for their Champions League matches. They have supplied an alternate third kit coming in a Bordeaux colourway to honour the AJ4. A Jordan Zoom 92 also releases alongside the 4, but will no doubt be overshadowed by the beauty of the classic sneaker.
Jordan Brand, about to be champions of Europe?
Jordan Brand has been fitting out the Paris Saint-Germain team for the UEFA Champions League for the last few seasons. Last year PSG were narrowly runners up to German powerhouse Bayern Munich. Don’t be surprised if in this year’s final we see PSG holding up the trophy. Even better, they’ll be dressed head to toe in Jumpman.
After all these years of dominating the basketball world, it looks like we are finally about to see Jordan Brand dominate another sport. Of course, only time will tell. But with Neymar and Mbappé on their side, the odds are definitely in MJ’s favour.