Some may not know, but one of the perks of having Michael Jordan as your teammate was being among the first to see Jordan sneakers and apparel before it was even released. What’s even more interesting, MJ himself was the model. That’s according to former Washington Wizards guard Rip Hamilton.
MJ was great at marketing
To date, estimates say Jordan is worth $1.7 billion. A huge part of that enormous success was the immortalization of his world-famous Jordan Brand. And apparently, MJ was well aware that young hoopers yearn to don the GOAT’s brand.
According to Hamilton, who played one season with Jordan in Washington, Jordan was amazing in marketing the yet-to-be-released Jordan products. Rip said “His Airness” would show up in the locker room rocking Jordan samples to see how they would react. And more often than not, Jordan got the response he wanted from them.
“That was the year that I used to beg MJ for his shoes because he used to walk around the locker room with all the samples. So that was one of the luxuries of playing with him. He would come in the locker room every day with a different sample shoe, a sample shirt, or whatever. He would get the response of all the young kids. Because you got to remember, Michael Jordan was a little older at the time. We were 20, 21. So he was able to get real opinions off of kids that were 20, 21 years old that had a huge impact on the sneaker culture.” Hamilton told Complex
Given Jordan Brand’s stature, there’s no wonder why almost every NBA player fancies being included in the renowned sneaker line collection. During his playing years, Hamilton was also one of them. Hoping to maximize the golden opportunity of learning Jordan’s take on the idea from the man himself, Rip decided to ask Jordan about it personally.
It must be taken into account that it happened circa 2001-02, four years before Hamilton earned his first All-Star appearance. As expected, Jordan gave Rip his signature savage response.
“Me and a couple of the young guys would come up to him and say, ‘Hey, Mike. What do you think about putting us in the Brand Jordan collection?’ He would look at me and say, ‘Hey, Rip, my sneakers are for All-Stars,’” Hamilton recalled.
Eventually, Hamilton finally got his Air Jordan 14 Rip Hamilton PE released. The sneakers hit retailers in April 2019, and that moment marked the day he became worthy of the Jordan Brand.