Nike Inc. launched its much-buzzed-about Flight 23 Jordan brand store on Saturday at an event in New York.
Flight 23 is a partnership with athletic retailer Footaction. As such, the 34th Street location, fittingly across the street from the New York Knicks’ home, Madison Square Garden, is connected to the Footaction unit there.
To boost excitement for the occasion, local DJs blared “23,” the Mike Will Made It ode to Jordan high-tops featuring Miley Cyrus, on loop.
Consumers were lined up for blocks — some had waited for days— to grab exclusive product at the store, ranging from Flight 23 NYC T-shirts to gold-heeled Black History Month sneakers, a signature of Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony.
When filmmaker Spike Lee, Footaction President Jake Jacobs and Jordan brand President Larry Miller untied an oversized shoelace to mark the official opening, shoppers streamed inside. Indoors, the room was lit up by a “23” chandelier made of 330 gold-plated Jumpman logos by Portland artist Michael Murphy.
Miller saw the launch as a natural, if long-awaited evolution for the Jordan brand and a game-changer for athletic footwear. “We’re at a point where having a store makes sense,” he said. “We’ve evolved to the point where as a brand, that’s the kind of statement we can make. “
He predicted the opening of the first Flight 23 could push other athletic brands to follow suit. In terms of store expansion to other major cities or within malls, nothing is confirmed yet, but Miller did note that Chicago is “definitely on the top of the list,” acknowledging Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls heyday.
Plans for the New York location include more events and exclusive product launches.
“This gives us the opportunity to display the breadth of our product for our consumers, our ‘first-class flyers,’” Miller said. “We’re going to create experiences for consumers of all ages and backgrounds that they can’t get anywhere else.”