Raja Bell wanted to wear Jordan shoes so bad he didn't care if he wasn't endorsed. He was willing to pay money to rock them. However, he found out it wasn't easy when you're not a part of Team Jordan.
"Bro, unless you're Team Jordan, you cannot wear those"
Raja Bell wore Jordan 16's in his first game in the NBA, but the Philadelphia 76ers' equipment manager wouldn't let him. Bell reasoned he bought it himself, but the manager hit him with a harsh reality.
"'Bro unless you're Team Jordan, you cannot wear those.' And my whole world was deflated." Bell explained.
Raja, unfortunately, wouldn't get into Team Jordan throughout his career. His Airness maintains a high standard for players representing his brand. Those who rocked the Jumpman logo on their feet include Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum, and Luka Doncic.
Based on the roster, a player must be voted an All-Star or a proven playoff performer. None of those suit Raja Bell as he made a career as a tough defender and role player. But kudos to him for still trying to play in Jordan sneakers.
Zion initially wore Nike, but when he busted his shoe in a game resulting in an injury, something had to change. So Team Jordan would snap Zion up and give him his sneaker line.
Why MJ is protective of his brand
Michael Jordan has his reasons why he's being overprotective of his brand. He was a fierce competitor in his playing days and became synonymous with winning. So, it's expected the chosen ambassadors also possess the same qualities.
The Jordan brand enabled MJ to build an empire. He wants exciting players with potential. Quentin Richardson almost signed with AND1, but when Mike found out, he quickly arranged a deal with the Jordan brand.
So say what you want to say about Mike and his cherry-picking of endorsers but wearing Jordan sneakers is a statement on its own: a player has earned MJ's respect.