Michael Jordan has been the biggest name in the NBA for more than 33 years. It all started after he signed a deal with Nike in 1984, which would see him take over the reins of the company quickly and make it the top sporting goods brand. By the time he was just 2 years into his retirement, ‘Air Jordan’ had brought Nike $485,000,000 worth of business around the globe.
It wouldn’t have been possible if MJ went with his gut, to sign with Adidas, who was a much bigger name than Nike at the time. However, Nike owner Phil Knight, and executives like Sonny Vaccaro, Howard White, and Peter Moore made sure Jordan signed with them.
“Competitiveness. Design. Creativity. Style. Those are all the things that make up my personality. And they have been turned into a product that sells. The public has received that message consistently each and every time. That has aided the success of the brand,” Jordan said when Shanken asked him what he brought to the table for Nike.
Fast-forward to now, over the past 5 years, the Jordan brand has made Nike in north of $19 Billion. He has not done it alone.
The 61-year-old’s brand got its own identity in 1997 and quickly signed Ray Allen, Derek Anderson, Eddie Jones, Vin Baker, and Michael Finley. In the latter years, it signed a couple of players like Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul who would become the faces of multiple franchises.