NBA legend Michael Jordan reportedly did not have Nike as his first choice when it came to shoe endorsements.
During the early stages of his career, Jordan actually wanted a sponsorship deal with Adidas instead, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“In 1984, Adidas made a misstep that presaged others… Michael Jordan wanted a sponsorship deal with Adidas when he went professional, say people familiar with the matter.”
The report further states that Adidas distributors initially wanted to sign Michael as well. That was, of course, until executives in Germany decided to travel in a different direction.
“Executives in Germany decided shoppers would favor taller players and wanted to sponsor centers, the person says, adding: ‘We kept saying, ‘no – no one can relate to those guys. Who can associate with a seven-foot-tall guy?”
USA Today reports that the Adidas did, in fact, go with an NBA center – 7’2″ Los Angeles Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
MJordan always wanted to wear Adidas shoes in the NBA, but they thought he was “too short”: http://t.co/1OZX98h4cM pic.twitter.com/1bXFanMQYf
— PerthNow (@perthnow) March 24, 2015
Quite a few Adidas executives may have regretted their decision while they sat on the sidelines as Michael Jordan and Nike made history together.
The red-and-black pair of Nike sneakers that Michael Jordan wore during his rookie year were initially banned in the NBA.
According to Forbes, the NBA did not approve of Jordan’s sneakers simply because they did not have any white in them. Each game that Jordan wore them, he was fined $5,000. However, Nike covered the costs of the fines and transformed that setback into an effective marketing scheme that caused sales to skyrocket.
“On September 15th, Nike created a revolutionary new basketball shoe. On October 18th, the NBA threw them out of the game. Fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.”
Over 30 years since his Nike sponsorship deal began and more than a decade after he played his final NBA game, Michael Jordan is still making tens of millions of dollars each year from the sales of his iconic shoes alone.
Millions of Jordan shoe fans and collectors eagerly anticipate the upcoming releases and re-releases of each iconic shoe that is included in this continuously expanding line.
It is true that Adidas still sells shoes that honor the NBA star that they chose over Michael Jordan. However, the average cost of the Adidas Original Jabbar Hi is a fraction of the price tag attached to Jordan’s shoes.
What would have happened if Adidas accepted Michael Jordan all those years ago instead of rejected him?
[Image Credit: ESPN & Getty Images]