Damon Calhoun

Michael Jordan rebelled against the league policies at the time and willfully payed a $5000 fine each time he wore his Air Jordan sneakers on the court. The Air Jordan 1 Rebellionaire highlights his rebellious spirit and the ways Jordan constantly sought a way to make his presence known and inspire change.


For the neighborhood exclusive release of  this  Air Jordan we wanted to give back to the community that helped us be selected as one of the few retailers in the Nation given the honor to release the shoe. 

For the launch of the shoe we decided to host an in store only raffle, meaning customers had to visit us inside the store in order to join the raffle and effort we took to ensure local residents and long time Puffer Reds supporters were able to get a pair making it truly a neighborhood shoe.

 "A Rebellionaire is a person who breaks barriers to move their city, community, and world to new heights". Inspired by Jordan's willingness to pay the $5000 fine for something he believed in, we sought out to find a organization in our community who accurately represents what a Rebellionaire is and present them with a $5000 donation. 

We selected CLR academy and their coordinators as the perfect embodiments of what a Rebellionaire truly is. CLR Academy's goals are to create programs that focus on sports sampling, nutrition, and mindfulness for the most underserved youth in our community providing role models and remove all barriers to participate. 

CLR Academy was created in partnership by Washtenaw My Brother’s Keeper & AFC Ann Arbor, the Rob Murphy Foundation, the Hart & Tay Train Foundation and The Mighty Oak Project. These organizations came together to build a community focused wellness project, aimed at developing leadership skills and revolutionary thinking for young residents of Sycamore Meadows in Ypsilanti, MI. 

There were three individuals who we felt deserved special recognition for their work with CLR and other community outreach programs. They are Justin Harper, Bilal Saeed, and Jamall Bufford. 

Not only does Justin Harper have years of experience in the classroom but is a long time Ypsilanti resident who has been in support of the community his entire life. Through his work with children he recognized the chance he had to make changes to the community through the youth. His goal was to show people new experiences as individuals and a community, and as the director of CLR he has been able to do just that.

“You have to break and change the system, because the structure is flawed.” - Justin Harper

By working with other non profit organizations like "Supreme Felons" Justin has been able to create deeper connections with those in the communities he has tried to serve the most.

Michigan based entrepreneur and owner of AFC Ann Arbor Bilal Saeed is a long time community leader and coordinator of CLR Academy. While he isn't originally from the Ypsilanti area, you would have a difficult time finding anyone who cares more about the people here. 

It was not long after moving to the community that Bilal saw the many injustices that plagued the lower income areas and after seeing people he respected from the community constantly doing community programming he was inspired to do the same. 

"To me a rebel is someone who breaks rules with purpose" - Bilal Saeed

Jamall Bufford is a hiphop artist and long time supporter of the Ypsilanti community as well at the director of the Washtenaw My Brothers Keeper program. Most importantly Jamall is a rebel in his community.

Through CLR academy he is provided Ypsilanti youth with free community programming based around sports, music , and nutrition. He realized that there are a lot of barriers for the people in the Ypsilanti community and he could not just focus on sports or music if he truly wanted to be a help. 

" At the core i wanted to provide social and emotional growth, teaching kids how to form friendships and how to be apart of their community." 

We thought that everything CLR had done already was amazing and wanted to do what we could to ensure the prolonged efforts of this organization. Ultimately deciding  to provide them with a $5000 donation, which was graciously matched by Destination Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor Sports Commission. 

Our Rebellionaires are always working on other projects and we encourage everyone to check them out and stay up to date with their latest events and programs. Bilal Saeed owns AFC Ann Arbor an MPLS soccer team that has being a two time Midwest regional finalist, and having a number of players drafted to leagues including the MLS. Jamall Bufford is the program director at Washtenaw My Brothers Keeper an initiative launched by former president Barack Obama. On top of supporting Supreme Felons, Justin Harper had been an Ann Arbor public schools educator for over twenty years. 

Puffer Reds is proud to have been a supporter of CLR Academy and cant wait to see how they inspire the next generation of Rebellionaires. 


Photography Credit @Trilogybeats313 @catherinedemski




Leave a comment
All comments are moderated before being published.

Read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Related posts

View all