Hearing Michael Jordan even say the name of Adidas is a bit shocking. Jordan’s Air Jordan shoes and several advertising campaigns have made Jordan and Nike synonymous, which has increased the relevance of the two.
Episode 5 of “The Last Dance” explained how Jordan’s deal with Nike came about. His agent, David Falk, said it started with Converse, which was the official shoe of the NBA at the time.
Converse had today’s big NBA stars on their roster: Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Julius Erving, among others.
“Converse had some big players and told me we can’t imagine you being put in front of them,” Jordan said in the documentary. “OK fine.”
Converse was therefore out of the race.
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Jordan’s next admission was that he was a huge Adidas fan at the time and there was even a clip of a young Jordan saying how much he loved Adidas shoes.
“I was Adidas,” Jordan said in “The Last Dance”.
Wait, Jordan wanted to be with Adidas? How did it end with Nike?
Falk has finished the story that must make the leaders of Adidas lose their heads.
“Adidas was really dysfunctional at the time and they’d just tell me ‘We would love to have Jordan, we just can’t make a shoe work right now,’” Falk said. “I wanted Michael to go with Nike because they were the upstarts.”
The rest is history, but a world where Jordan signed on with Adidas instead of Nike is a possibility of a culture change and was not that far away from happening.
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