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Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials MJ, is an American businessman and former professional basketball player. He played fifteen seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan is the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA and of 23XI Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. His biography on the official NBA website states: “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” He was integral in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s, becoming a global cultural icon in the process.
Jordan played college basketball for three seasons under coach Dean Smith with the North Carolina Tar Heels. As a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels’ national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick, and quickly emerged as a league star, entertaining crowds with his prolific scoring while gaining a reputation as one of the game’s best defensive players.
His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free-throw line in Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames “Air Jordan” and “His Airness“. Jordan won his first NBA title with the Bulls in 1991, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a three-peat. Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the 1993–94 NBA season to play Minor League Baseball but returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three more championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. He retired for the second time in January 1999 but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Washington Wizards.
Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, ten NBA scoring titles (both all-time records), five NBA MVP awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors (joint record), fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three NBA All-Star Game MVP awards, three NBA steals titles, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game).
In 1999, he was naming the 20th century’s greatest North American athlete by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press’ list of athletes of the century. Jordan was twice inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, once in 2009 for his individual career, and again in 2010 as part of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“The Dream Team”). He became a member of the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009, a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2010, and an individual member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015 and a “Dream Team” member in 2017.
One of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation, Jordan is known for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1984 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred as himself in the 1996 live-action animation hybrid film Space Jam and is the central focus of the Emmy Award-winning documentary miniseries The Last Dance (2020). He became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats (now named the Hornets) in 2006, and bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2016, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history. As of 2022, his net worth is estimating at $2.1 billion.
Michael Jordan made $130 million from his Nike shoe deal last year—but he originally wanted to wear Adidas
It’s been 16 years since Michael Jordan played his last professional basketball game, but he still out-earns every current NBA player when it comes to sneaker income — and the ranking isn’t even close: In 2019, Jordan earned $130 million from his Nike deal, Forbes reports.
That’s four times more than No. 2 ranked LeBron James, who made $32 million from his sneaker deal. The No. 3 earner, Kevin Durant, made $26 million in 2019.
Today, it’s hard to imagine Jordan sporting anything other than Nike, but he didn’t always want to wear the now iconic Swoosh. In 1984, the year he was drafting third overall by the Chicago Bulls, Jordan had his eye on Adidas.
In the 80s, Nike was knowing as a track shoe. The most popular shoe in the NBA at the time was Converse, which represented superstars like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Since it already had a roster of big names, the company wouldn’t be able to prioritize a rookie like Jordan. “They told me, We cannot envision you being put ahead of them,” Jordan recalls in “The Last Dance,” a 10-part documentary series that follows him and the Bulls’ pursuit of a sixth championship in 1998.
While Jordan liked Adidas, his agent, David Falk, wanted him to go with Nike. “Adidas was really dysfunctional by that time,” says Falk, who represented Jordan from 1984 to 2003. “And they had just told me, We’d love to have Jordan. We just can’t make a shoe work at this point in time.
“I wanted Michael to go with Nike because they were the upstart.”
Jordan, who was 21 at the time, was stubborn. “I couldn’t even get him to get on the damn plane and go visit the [Nike] campus,” recalls Falk. “So I called his parents.”
As Jordan remembers it, his mom “made me get on that plan and go listen.” Nike offered a deal the rookie couldn’t turn down.
“Back then, the best guys might have gotten like $100,000 or so,” says Nike executive Howard White in the documentary. “He got probably $250,000. It was like, You will pay him what? A young rookie that’s done nothing? You must be out of your mind.”
As part of the deal, Jordan also got his own shoe line: Air Jordan.
It didn’t take long for the brand to take off. “Nike’s expectation when we signed the deal was, at the end of year four, they hoped to sell $3 million worth of Air Jordans,” says Falk. “In year one, we sold $126 million.”
Did Michael Jordan Almost Leave Nike for adidas?
According to one sportswear industry veteran, Michael Jordan once met with adidas about the possibility of abandoning his Nike deal to sign with the German brand.
The story comes from Sonny Vaccaro, a legend in the realm of sports footwear who previously worked for both Nike and adidas, and was instrumental in bringing Jordan to Nike. In a new piece from USA Today, Vaccaro says he accompanied Jordan during a meeting with adidas about him making the switch.
The meeting was with Rob Strasser and Peter Moore, two former executives involved in the early phases of the Air Jordan line that left Nike in 1987 to work for adidas. Vaccaro doesn’t mention exactly when the meeting went down, only that it happened after the departure of Strasser and Moore from the Swoosh. The idea of such a meeting happening in 1987 would make sense though, as it often says that Jordan was somewhat dissatisfying with his Nike line at the time (this being before Tinker Hatfield stepped in on the design side for the Air Jordan 3).
Current Status Of Michael Jordan And Nike Relationship
While Michael Jordan started as part of Nike, and also remains a subsidiary till today, Michael Jordan now has its own identity. Nike struck a deal with Jordan in 1984, and the sneaker deal was finalizing because of the potentials Nike spotted in the young Michael Jordan.
Though his potentials in Jordan were clear, but Nike was skeptical if people will buy sneakers specially made for him. Nike was hopeful that Jordan being a role model to kids will help in promoting and marketing the sneakers to the young and old basketball followers.
The marketing gimmick went on to work as the company sold its first $100 million worth of shoes by 1986. By the end of 1997, the value of Jordan’s Franchise was large enough for Nike to approve it as a separate brand.
The new Jordan brand has reached a milestone, with the earning of its first billion-dollar worth of products in 2019. The company’s CEO- Mark Parker had made the announcement of the new milestone to mark the end of the financial year for the organization.
Over his basketball career, Michael Jordan was reporting to have earned a whopping $93 million. Today, he is reporting to be making more than $ 100 million a year from his endorsement with Nike alone. His company is now worth an estimated $ 1.7 billion.
Jordan has no played in the NBA for almost 20 years, yet he has been able to sustain his legacy. In 2020, Jordan completed the airing of the documentary of “The Last Dance” series, and this was necessary due to the rampaging Coronavirus. Jordan had successfully created a huge following for himself and the show, and he was able to introduce his basketball career to new generation of NBA followers.
Jordan’s long-term partnership with Nike didn’t bring him just money, it has also helped in sustaining his legacy. Over the last 12 months of 2020 to 2021, Jordan’s shoe brands grossed over $ 3.6 billion which is a 15% increase from 2019/2020. In the same year of Jordan’s success, Nike had witnessed a decline in revenues from all product lines including; sportswear and soccer training.
The controversies surrounding the deal between Michael Jordan and Nike seem to be connected with renewable agreements which tend to favor Jordan, more than the company-Nike.
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