If you haven’t given the new Netflix docuseries, ‘The Last Dance’, a watch yet, it’s probably time you should. The six-episode show gives people a more in-depth look at the life and latter career of NBA legend Michael Jordan.
While it mainly focused on the basketball superstar’s last playing season, it also shed light on one of the most significant events of his career.
The Nike and Jordan brand may be inseparable today but that wasn’t always the case. You see, the then-young basketball player didn’t even want to work with the company at first.
But thanks to the nudging of numerous trusted people in his life, the athlete eventually came to sign the now-iconic deal with Nike. One of them is David Falk, his agent.
Falk reportedly liked the idea of marketing Jordan as an individual sport athlete similar to the tennis players represented by Nike at the time. Thus, he convinced the player to listen to what the brand has to offer.
The agent was reportedly also the one who came up with the name ‘Air Jordan.’
Of course, James and Deloris Jordan’s input also played a massive role in their son’s decision to go for Nike. As Jordan shared in the documentary, his mom was the one who urged him to visit the Nike campus while his dad told him it would be foolish not to accept the company’s offer.
Deal of a Lifetime
The deal involved Jordan signing a five-year contract with Nike that paid him $500,000 a year. That may not seem to be much considering the significantly larger deals signed by athletes today.
However, that was only the beginning. The Air Jordan line of shoes sold $100 million of products during just its first year in retail.
In total, Jordan has reportedly earned over $1 billion over the decades of working with Nike.
Looking back, the coming together of Nike and Jordan elevated both of them. The Air Jordan logo of the former NBA star dunking a ball has even become as famous as the Nike swoosh itself.
The duo’s legacy has been safely cemented as over three-quarters of NBA players still wear Nike or Jordan brand shoes until today.
Vintage Air Jordan pairs also continue to fetch high prices at auctions. Case in point is the $560,000 a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s sold for recently.