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Michael Jordan and Nike’s Iconic Partnership Almost Didn’t Happen, You’ll Never Guess Why

Michael Jordan’s reputation as one of the most popular and successful athletes of all time wasn’t built overnight. It took a big dose of talent and a series of wise career decisions to get his name cemented to basketball’s hall of fame.

Part of his staying power is a well-struck deal with Nike to create his now-iconic line of shoes: Air Jordan. But what if that never happened?

What if the NBA star chose another brand to work with? Well, that may as well have happened considering Jordan’s sentiments about Nike in the past.

Different Preference

The 6’6” athlete was reportedly too short for Adidas’ tastes

You may find it hard to believe, but the basketball legend wasn’t jumping for joy when Nike showed interest in working with him. He preferred the brand’s competitor Adidas at the time due to the impression that the former didn’t produce the kind of quality products he was interested in. Unfortunately, representatives from Adidas weren’t keen on using him to promote their product line because of his height.

But this turn out of events wasn’t the only one that convinced him to meet with Nike finally.

Parents’ Intuition

Jordan at home with his parents

As the now-57-year-old Jordan revealed, it was his mother, Deloris, who urged him to get on a plane and listen to what the American apparel company had to say even though he may not like it.

However, it was his father, James Jordan Sr., who ultimately convinced him to sign a contract with Nike. As the former Chicago Bulls player recalled, his father told him he would be a fool not to take the deal he was being offered.

Jordan’s dad had a point as the deal was considered to be the biggest in history at that point. In the end, he seems to have listened to his parents’ advice, donned Nike shoes, and signed the contract.

Birth of a Legendary Shoe Line

The Air Jordan brand continues to be popular among fans of the sport until today

Jordan’s half a million dollars a year earnings immediately multiplied as Nike’s Air technology paired well with the NBA star-branded shoe. And thus, Air Jordan was born.

In contrast to the $3 million in four years earnings that Nike was expecting, the sneakers sold a whopping $126 million in just its first year in the market. Today, Jordan takes home about $130 million every year thanks to royalties from his show line.

The now-$3-billion brand is reportedly being expanded to become a lifestyle brand more than just a shoe line.

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