Michael Jordan and his legendary deal with Nike could’ve never existed at one point. The NBA legend had the most successful career among basketball players of his time. This attracted a lot of sports brands to sign him as their athlete representative. MJ was never entirely interested in Nike as they weren’t even as popular as their competitors, Converse and Adidas.
According to the Insider, Jason Hehir of Adidas revealed a secret MJ hid from the entire world. Despite a couple of ups and downs with the Chicago Bulls, he remained loyal to them for several years. However, it wasn’t the same between Jordan and Nike. During the entirety of his college career, Mike always represented Adidas and his heart remained with them during the initial years of his career as well.
In his docuseries “The Last Dance,” a clip of Jordan admitting he liked Adidas even though his entire team was endorsed by Converse. When it came to a point where he had to sign an endorsement deal, he wasn’t keen on meeting with Nike. However, his parents convinced him to speak to the representatives and he ended up signing with them.
Hehir revealed to the Insider that even though Michael Jordan’s deal with Nike was exceeding it’s initial sales expectations, he still wanted to go back to Adidas. Ultimately, he stuck with Nike, and their partnership generated billions of dollars. The Air Jordan concept became a fashion statement as well. As Hehir said, Jordan is the human version of the Nike swoosh itself.
Adidas could not match Nike’s offer of $2.5 million to Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan initially signed a $2.5 million contract for five years. This happened to be the biggest endorsement at the time among the several other deals in the NBA. Nike planned to reach a target of $3 million in sales within three years of the deal. But to their surprise, sales reached a whopping $126 million in the first year of the deal. Jordan has earned half of his net worth from Nike itself.
Adidas passed up the opportunity to partner with Michael Jordan to create the Air Jordans. Deal went to Nike which made $126M (in the 80s). Insane pic.twitter.com/IuL2TiIZNr
— Dapo. (@Dxpo_) May 28, 2023
Hehir said, “He himself went back to Adidas after he got the offer from Nike and said, ‘Are you sure?’ Because if they would match the deal he was going to go with them. He really wanted to go with Adidas.” However, Adidas failed to meet his sincere requests and Jordan was left disappointed that he couldn’t go back to wearing Adidas. It seems like his Nike deal was destined to happen. Who knows, if he hadn’t signed with Nike he wouldn’t be a billionaire today.