Talk about taking a billion dollar loss! During episode 5 of “The Last Dance”, Michael Jordan mentioned that back in the day he was not interested in signing with Nike and that he had his eyes on Adidas, a brand who actually came close to inking a deal with him.
The brand wanted to sign a deal with the promising rookie back in 1984 but according to MJ, they didn’t want to make him a priority and Jordan felt like he should definitely be one. So the two parts involved failed to reach an agreement and Jordan came back home without a shoe deal.
This is when Nike stepped their game up and made a preliminary move. However, this is where things get extremely interesting, Jordan did not want to hear the proposal from the Swoosh brand. This is when the player’s mother FORCED him get on a plane and take a pitch meeting with Nike just to hear what they had to say.
“My mother said, ‘You’re gonna go listen. You may not like it, but you’re gonna go listen,'” Jordan said. “She made me get on that plane and go listen.”
At the time, Michael Jordan thought that Nike was nowhere near Adidas as a brand but considering the fact that Adidas didn’t even want to give him his own shoe, he softened up to the competitors offer. Converse, the third player in the Jordan race, had Magic Johnson and Larry Bird on their roster and also didn’t see him as their top guy either.
Ultimately, Jordan said yes to Nike’s offer who at the time was testing the “Air” technology, and the rest is history.
“Go into that meeting not wanting to be there, and Nike made this big pitch,” Jordan said … “My father said, ‘You’d have to be a fool not taking this deal. This is the best deal.”
After the deal was done, Nike only expected $3 million in sales in the first 4 years but the brand sold $126 million worth of shoes in the first year alone. Over the years, Jordans became the most popular shoe in the world while making Michael Jordan hundreds of millions of dollars as we all know it.