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The union between Michael Jordan and Nike is one of the greatest collaborations that almost didn’t happen. As we heard in “The Last Dance,” ESPN’s expansive documentary about Jordan, he originally wanted to sign with Adidas. It was his parents, James and Deloris, who encouraged him to listen to Nike’s pitch, and he signed the contract on their advice.
It goes even farther than the first contract, though. According to ESPN’s Wright Thompson, James is the reason he stayed with Nike in 1988, a time when he was actively shopping for a new shoe company. And James did it by scolding his son for being late.
Jordan had been unhappy with Nike for several years, starting in 1985 when he broke his foot just three games into the season while wearing a pair of Nikes. The company was hoping to make him happy and pull him back into the fold with his next sneaker, the Jordan 3. The shoe was designed with Jordan’s input, but CEO Phil Knight was convinced that Jordan would leave.
It was a full house for that “last meeting.” Knight and Tinker were there, as was Nike’s head of marketing and Jordan’s agents. Jordan’s parents were also there, which is why what happened next is so important: Jordan kept everyone waiting in that hotel conference room for four hours. For four hours, everyone sat there, waiting for him to show up.
Michael Jordan is considered by most experts to be the greatest basketball player of all-time. He played collegiately at the University of North Carolina, where he helped that team win an NCAA championship in 1982 and also won gold at the Pan American Games in the same year. In 1984, Jordan led the United States to an Olympic gold medal.
Turning to professional basketball after his junior year in college, he became the greatest player in the NBA (National Basketball Association). In 1991, Jordan finally achieved his greatest thrill, leading the Chicago Bulls to an NBA Championship, and completing his Triple Crown of titles – NCAA, NBA, and Olympic.
Jordan eventually led the Bulls to six NBA titles (1991-1993, 1996-1998). In 1992, Jordan also played on the Dream Team which won the basketball gold medal at Barcelona. He could also have played in 1996 but chose not to do so.
Jordan retired briefly at the beginning of the 1993-94 NBA season, taking a short fling at playing minor league baseball, but returned to basketball at the end of the 1995 season. He retired again after helping the Chicago Bulls win their sixth NBA title in the spring of 1998. However, Jordan came out of retirement to play for the Washington Wizards in the 2001-03 NBA seasons.
Michael Jordan, in full Michael Jeffrey Jordan, byname Air Jordan, (born February 17, 1963, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.), American collegiate and professional basketball player widely considered to be one of the greatest all-around players in the history of the game. He led the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association (NBA) championships (1991–93, 1996–98).
Jordan grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, and entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981. As a freshman, he made the winning basket against Georgetown in the 1982 national championship game. Jordan was named College Player of the Year in both his sophomore and junior years, leaving North Carolina after his junior year. He led the U.S. basketball team to Olympic gold medals in 1984 in Los Angeles and in 1992 in Barcelona, Spain.
In 1984 Jordan was drafted by the Chicago Bulls. In his first season (1984–85) as a professional, he led the league in scoring and was named Rookie of the Year; after missing most of the following season with a broken foot, he returned to lead the NBA in scoring for seven consecutive seasons, averaging about 33 points per game. He was only the second player (after Wilt Chamberlain) to score 3,000 points in a single season (1986–87). Jordan was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) five times (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998) and was also named Defensive Player of the Year in 1988.
The story of how Michael Jordan became Team USA’s “biggest cheerleader” at the Ryder Cup
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America