Michael Jordan Almost Wanted To Sign With Adidas Instead Of Nike

Michael Jordan Almost Wanted To Sign With Adidas Instead Of Nike

One of the most fascinating topics for discussion regarding pop culture icons at the level Michael Jordan is to imagine what would have happened if things had happened differently – when each minor decision of someone becomes a subject of legend, it is easy to analyze all of the many divergent paths that person could have taken and to change the world as we know it. For example, as impossible as it may seem now, and if Michael Jordan and Nike were not associated with the creation of the emblematic brand Air Jordan? Those who know the story of the meeting between Nike and MJ already know that it almost did not happen, a point that was reiterated by Jordan in a recent episode of ESPN. The last dance documentary.

As Jordan said, he was more interested in Adidas than in Nike in 1984, because he just didn’t believe that Nike’s product lived up to the quality that interested him. He preferred Adidas, but Jordan said company officials weren’t interested in pushing him to the forefront of their product line or giving him his own signature sneaker – something that Jordan was obviously interested even in the early days of his NBA stardom. Converse, who already had approval agreements with NBA luminaries, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, was also not about to push Jordan to the top of the hill, but as Jordan explains, there had another factor that made him decide to accept a meeting with Nike:

“My mom said, ‘You’re going to listen. You may not like her, but you’re going to listen … She made me get on this plane and go listen.”

Then, after the meeting, it was Jordan’s father who persuaded him to sign on the dotted line:

“Go to this meeting not wanting to be there, and Nike made this big pitch … My father said, ‘You’d have to be a fool not to accept this deal. It’s the best deal.'”

Jordan Brand via Getty Images

The deal, at the time, was important (the most important in history at that time, in fact), although it may appear to be small potatoes today. He called on MJ to earn half a million dollars a year over five years (plus stock options and a few other financial benefits), with a variety of different stipulations in the contract that would allow Nike to withdraw early if Jordan did not do so. Don’t keep your promise early on the field (or in shoe stores). Even then, Jordan was reluctant, because according to previous statements he had made on the subject, he was never a wearer of Nike until he signed the agreement with the company and preferred Adidas shoes to those from Nike. But with Adidas refusing to give Jordan the deference it wanted, and Nike wants to put it at the forefront of their promotional campaign (which included now-legendary television commercials run by the one and only) Spike lee), he ended up making the decision to sign with Nike.

The rest, of course, is the history of the sneaker world, as Nike incorporated their developing Air technology into Jordan’s own branded shoe, and Air Jordan was born, becoming a billion-dollar brand. dollars and selling $ 126 million in the product in their first year – compared to the meager $ 3 million that Nike accountants had forecast for the first FOUR years.

The question is then what the sneaker landscape would look like if Jordan had agreed to sign with Adidas, or if Adidas had seen the same potential in GM as Nike had apparently done. Maybe it would be the Jordan sneakers from Adidas that would be the most popular sneakers on Earth today, or maybe there was something magical in the combination of Jordan and Nike that made Air Jordan to become such a phenomenon. This is just speculation, but you have to assume that some former Adidas executives still have a stomach ache when they think about what could have been.

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