In 2015, jurors ordered Dominick’s Finer Foods to pay Michael Jordan $8.9 million for using his name on a $2-off coupon without proper permission. Jordan hired one of the best lawyers money could buy, and the attorney uttered an appeal that helped seal the win for the GOAT.
Dominick’s Finer Foods, a now-defunct grocery chain, used Jordan’s Hall of Fame enshrinement as a way to propel their business. In a Sports Illustrated ad, the establishment congratulated the GOAT for his milestone. The ad included a $2-off coupon above a photo of a sizzling steak. It had a text: “Michael Jordan ... You are a cut above.”
Selecting a jury wasn’t a simple task, given Jordan’s stature. Plus, the hearing occurred in a Chicago courthouse, the city that Jordan put on the map in the 90s. A prospective juror even admitted Jordan as one of his heroes and was rightfully crossed out of the list.
During the hearing itself, Jordan’s basketball accomplishments were used by his attorney to appeal to the jurors.
Not about the money
After the win, Jordan clarified that he pursued the case, not because of the money. Rather, he was protecting his name and all the hard work that came with establishing it.
“It is my name, and I’ve worked hard for it for 30-something years, and I’m not just going to let someone take it,” he said outside the courthouse, per the Chicago Tribune.
“It’s not the type of court I like to win at,” he added, referring to his all-star career with the Chicago Bulls. “But unfortunately we ended up in this court, and I’m very happy with the result.”
Dominick’s attorneys slammed the verdict, noting that the jury should award MJ no more than $126,900. To boost their argument, they unpacked Jordan’s incredible wealth, which he earned through multi-million dollar endorsement deals and businesses.
Jordan and Dominick’s eventually reached a settlement. True to his word, Jordan vowed to donate the proceeds to Chicago charities. The settlement amount was never disclosed.
“He will be contributing the net settlement proceeds to Chicago-area charities, the names of which will be announced before the end of the year. And we can give no other information, as the settlement requires confidentiality,” said Esse Portnoy, Jordan’s longtime advisor, per CBS News.