Michael Jordan was a generational player back in the day, and the NBA world has not seen another like him even until now. He was quick, agile, and almost had no flaws in his game. It would be safe to claim that when he set foot on the court, the world was watching. Jordan’s impact on the league, and the sporting world is still huge, which isn’t a huge surprise considering his achievements.
MJ’s name is now spread across the world, along with the Jordan brand. Jordan signed with Nike when he was just a rookie, and that was the start of something special for both parties. Jordan is now a household name in sports, and the 6x NBA champ is the main reason for that.
The Chicago Bulls legend signed a contract worth $2.5 million for five years. Although it isn’t a huge figure in the current era due to inflation, that was still a decent amount for a rookie at the time.
Nike founder Phil Knight was set to ignore Michael Jordan and avoid signing him
Nike founder and former CEO Phil Knight developed a good relationship with His Airness over the years. However, Knight didn’t even want to sign Jordan on a deal. According to sports author Roland Lazenby, Sony Vaccaro had to convince Knight to sign MJ.
Roland wrote, “Phil Knight had begun to have second thoughts about his company’s relationship with Jordan, which set up something of a drama that would unfold over the next year as talks continued about a new contract for Air Jordan. It was as if MJ had gotten too much power too quickly and it spooked Knight.”
Roland also mentioned that Phil Knight wanted Nike to sign with college teams and not Michael Jordan. This will come as a huge surprise, considering how their relationship unfolded as the years went now. Now, Nike and Jordan’s partnership is arguably the greatest in sports history. The American brand has even raked in more than $1 billion in sales with the Jordan brand.
Since 1984, Michael Jordan has been paid over $1.3 Billion by Nike — making their partnership the richest athlete endorsement in the history of sports.
The most interesting part?
It almost didn’t happen.
Time for a thread 👇👇👇
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) October 28, 2020
MJ owns a portion of the Jordan brand, but it is still signed to the Swoosh. However, the brand will have to pay a portion of every sale made. This has helped MJ to build a huge empire and has contributed massively to his billionaire status. He became the first NBA player to hit the milestone and was recently joined by LeBron James.