The 1984 NBA All-Star Game, played at McNichols Arena in Denver, was the start of something different. The night before the main event consisted of the first-ever NBA Slam-Dunk Contest, which has since gone on to be a marquee event for the League’s best. All-Star Weekend ’84 marked the start of a sprawl that would eventually take over the better part of an entire week. But even this was prologue. Because it was the following year that would see the debut of Michael Jordan.
Jordan, then a heralded rookie out of North Carolina, was named to the 1985 All-Star team and also competed in the dunk contest, where he faced off against—among others—defending champion Larry Nance, all-time legend Julius Erving, and third-year Hawks forward Dominique Wilkins. Jordan finished second to Wilkins, setting off a dunk rivalry that would come to a head three years later in Chicago.
But 27 years later, it’s not the dunks that stand out the most. The image that endures is Jordan, coming out for warmups wearing his own black-and-red Air Jordan gear rather than Chicago Bulls sweats, capped off with a pair of gold chains and the infamous “Banned” black-and-red Air Jordan 1s.
It was an audacious act by an audacious player, marketing his upcoming line on live TV a week before he turned 22. Again, this was something different.
The next day, Jordan paid the price for his perceived arrogance. Lacing up his traditional red, white, and black game shoes for the All-Star Game, Jordan scored just 7 points in 22 minutes—his nine shots were the fewest of any East starter. Rumor was he was frozen out of the offense, in part because of his actions the night before. “There were reports the other NBA all-stars were turned off by Jordan`s behavior at the slam-dunk contest,” wrote the Chicago Tribune’s Bob Sakamoto the next day, “when he went through the first round in his warm-up outfit while the other seven competitors were in their uniforms.”
Source: Complex Sneakers