Michael Jordan was no stranger to pressure. In the early years of his budding career, his famous, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed” line was as appropriate as ever. Year in and year out, Jordan would be dispensed from the playoffs despite his Herculean efforts. Scoring titles were nice and flashy dunks excited the crowd, but it wasn’t enough. No matter if it was the Boston Celtics or Detroit Pistons, someone always stood in Jordan’s path. Every year he would come back, the noise around him growing deafening with every playoff defeat, intent on proving everyone wrong.

When the time came to design and present Jordan’s third signature sneaker, Nike found themselves as the ones suffocating under excruciating pressure. Jordan’s five-year contract with the company was winding down and Nike had just lost two of its most important employees, creative director Peter Moore and vice president Rob Strasser, two men who were instrumental in the recruitment of Jordan to the company. Jordan had reportedly grown disgruntled with the design path of his line and the time seemed as good as any to see what else was out there. If Nike had any hope of keeping Jordan, they needed to wow him at this meeting.

Enter Tinker Hatfield.

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