The relationship between Nike and Michael Jordan is probably the biggest and most important marriage between corporation and individual in the history of mankind – not only did it make MJ a billionaire but it also had an unprecedented impact on the culture at large, including sneakerheads and fans of quality films like Space Jam. Now, a new article from the Wall Street Journal is revealing just how close to never happening the Nike deal was, because Jordan had his heart set on adidas and would have signed with them if they’d only made him an offer – which they didn’t.
Yep, the largely European board of directors at adidas apparently thought that the big money was in super-tall NBA centers and that signing the 6’6″ Michael Jordan would be a waste of time. Here’s an excerpt from the article, as found in a recent tweet from one of its authors:
Yikes. Oh well, I’m sure the people at adidas don’t still feel bad about their monumental failure to sign the greatest basketball player of all time to their brand, even though he was eager to do so and didn’t even wear Nike sneakers until he got a sweetheart deal from the Swoosh.
You need a Wall Street Journal subscription to read the article here, which is actually about adidas’ attempts to break back into relevance in 2015. But the nugget about the possible Michael Jordan x adidas relationship isn’t really brand new information, as the old interview with MJ below proves.