Michael Jordan has propelled Nike to one of the biggest brands in the world.


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Both parties have benefited greatly since the partnership first took root on October 26, 1984.

Less than a year later, the first Air Jordan shoe was released to the public in 1985.

Air Jordan Sales Exceeded Nike's Expectations

It was predicted that the shoes would earn Nike $3 million in revenue. Those expectations were shattered as they garnered $126 million during that year alone, according to NBC Sports.

The initial success was a clear indicator of the billion-dollar empire that would come to fruition years later. However, Jordan almost would have never seen this level of success with Nike, if his mother never stepped in.

The Nike Deal Was Almost Non-Existent

According to ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary, Jordan was seemingly hell-bent on adidas. Unlike Nike, adidas was not looking to create a shoe for Jordan.

That window of opportunity was all the more reason for Jordan to consider Nike. David Falk, Jordan’s agent, was doing everything in his power to make it happen.

“Adidas was really dysfunctional by that time,” David Falk, Jordan’s agent, said, according to NBC Sports. “And they had just told me, ‘Look, we’d love to have Jordan, we just can’t make a shoe work at this point in time.’ I wanted Michael to go with Nike because they were the big upstart. I couldn’t even get him to get on the damn plane and go visit the campus.”

Jordan still wasn’t pushing to work with Nike. So, Falk turned to a person whom he knew could shift Jordan’s perspective.

Jordan's Mother Shifted Jordan's Perspective

That person was his mother, Deloris Jordan.

“My mother said, ‘You’re gonna go listen. You may not like it, but you’re gonna go listen,” Jordan said in the documentary, according to NBC Sports. “She made me get on that plane and go listen.”

That conversation softened Jordan’s heart and led to him signing a five-year, $2.5 million deal with Nike, Sports Illustrated reports.

“[I] go into that meeting not wanting to be there, and Nike made this big pitch,” Jordan said, according to NBC Sports, “My father said, ‘You’d have to be a fool not taking this deal. This is the best deal.’”


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Success Of Jordan Brand

Air Jordan has become a staple in many households and the line became so lucrative it could stand on its own. From there, the rest is what they call history.

The Jordan Brand began operating independently in 1997.

As AfroTech previously told you, Jordan Brand now earns annual revenue of over $5 billion.

Per Forbes, Jordan himself has earned over $1 billion from Nike.