Michael Jordan, who built a $1.7 billion empire, admitted never wearing Nike before signing with them

Michael Jordan once admitted to never wearing Nike shoes before signing with them in 1984.

Michael Jordan and Nike go hand in hand and have done so for almost 4 decades. Jordan Brand is its own business under the Nike umbrella and reportedly grossed $5 billion in the last fiscal year. Built from the ground up, none of this would have been possible if MJ hadn’t signed with Nike in 1984.

According to ‘His Airness’ himself, he never really liked Nike. During his college years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he wore Converse. Converse dominated the basketball sneaker market with athletes like Julius Erving, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird sporting them in the league.

With Converse, Jordan was fascinated by Adidas. So Nike was never really on its radar before entering the league. He would even admit to something that seems pretty insane in hindsight.

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Michael Jordan never wore Nike shoes in his life until he signed a contract with them

During interview with a cigar lover in 2005, Michael Jordan admitted that not only did he not care to be a Nike athlete, but that he had never worn their product in his life.

During the “Last Dance” docuseries, he admitted he didn’t even want to attend the meeting with Nike executives. The company had a reputation for making sneakers specifically designed for running, a sport MJ had nothing to do with.

Eventually, the 6x champion’s parents, especially his mother, got in the way and forced their son to attend the meeting. It’s safe to say it was the right call because he was sold the second he left that meeting. Fast forward to today and the majority of his reported $1.7 billion net worth comes from royalties earned from Jordan Brand sales.

What sold Michael Jordan talking to Nike?

The main thing that Nike did that other competitors just didn’t was offer Jordan its own signature line. Not only did they want to give him his own shoe, they wanted to make him the face of their company.

Expected to raise $3 million over a 4-year period, from 1984 to 1988, the brand brought in $126 million in the first year alone. After that, nothing stopped what Nike and Michael Jordan had set in motion.

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