Not a lot of people know that before entering the NBA in 1984 Michael Jordan was only interested in representing one brand. Adidas. But as they didn’t show much interest in him, Nike took the opportunity to snatch the disappointed phenom
Nike was a fast-rising brand at the time and MJ was the perfect fit for them, as both would skyrocket into popularity.
Nike decided to offer Jordan $500,000 a year in cash for five years, which at that time was a ridiculous number, as the previous highest contract was James Worthy’s deal with New Balance, which was an eight-year deal worth $150,000 a year.
An interesting part of the deal was the conditions Nike gave to Jordan in order to protect the company.
As he would complete these conditions, the deal was done. Air Jordan was in full effect. The Air Jordan Is, at an unheard of price of $65 a pair, hit stores nationwide on March 1985. Already by May, Nike had sold $70 million worth and by year’s end; the Air Jordan franchise had collected more than $100 million in revenues.
In 2012, the Jordan brand sold $2.5 billion worth of shoes at retail, its best year ever as the move to get Jordan proved to be the best move ever in shoe brand history.
The question remained, could he had even more success if he signed with Adidas, but MJ doesn’t concern himself with that, as he is thankful that Adidas made it easier for him to walk away from the brand he always loved.
“In hindsight, it was perfect for me because it made my decision that much easier, and I ended up with Nike.”