NBA

“The Deal”, Nike and Jordan change sports fashion forever.

In honor of Paris Fashion week, we will signify the impact of fashion on sports. One of the biggest fashion brands that has revolutionized every aspect of sports is Nike. If you did not know, Nike was started by Phil Knight, and Oregon graduate who changed they way we look at athletes uniforms. He help bring “Swag” to the masses with the help of a few major deals that he made in the 1980s. These deals include one of the most historic deals of them all; Nike signed Michael Jordan.

Well this is how our story begins.

Back in 1980, Nike was not the company they are today. The were a rising brand, but #3 to most who looked at shoe brands back in 1980. Nike was behind Adidas and Converse to most basketball fans, and football was not even a question for them; we’ll get to that story later.

But, Nike in 1983 needed a jump or boost in their brands perception. Nike knew that most basketball players preferred Converse because of the Super stars at the time like Magic, Bird, and Dr. J were all signed to Converse. Next was Adidas, most players like them because they were comfortable. Nike was looking for a way in, and they found the missing link. They knew that the 1984 draft was going to be very important, they decided that they would go after one of the rookies entering the league. Michael Jordan was that rookie. Nike did have a huge problem… Jordan did not want them.

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Michael Jordan wearing Converse for North Carolina (Photo Credit: Complex.com)

In college, Jordan had worn Converse because of the deal his head coach at the time made with converse. The brand Jordan wanted most was Adidas, but Adidas did not want him. Adidas preferred big men over guards at the time. That was understandable given that the league at the time was dominated by big men.

After the Adidas deal didn’t get done Jordan went to his second choice, Converse. The team at Converse were willing to offer Michael the same deal like every other star they had. $100,000 shoe deal. Mind you, Jordan had not even touched the floor of NBA court yet. Michael asked one simple question ” Where do I fit into this conversation?” The executes at Converse had nothing to say. Mike’s father added another question that probably sealed the deal for Jordan to look else where, “What new ideas do you have?” Most young NBA players would have just wanted the shoe deal, but Jordan wanted more.

Now here’s Nike’s chance, but again Jordan did not want Nike. Jordan would not even take a meeting with Nike. Jordan’s agent stepped in and called Michael’s parents. Crazy right. Michaels parents persuaded Mike to take the meeting. In the meeting Nike was going all in. The big difference between Nike and Converse was the creative input Nike was willing to give Michael in making his shoe. Most companies at the time made a shoe for you and ran with what they wanted and not the player.

 

The idea of having creative input interested Michael above all else. Nike also offered Jordan the biggest shoe deal at the time in a $500,000 shoe deal with stock options. Jordan had to live up to the hype in which he did in his rookies season alone.

This major deal has had a ripple affect on sports since Michael put pen to paper. The iconic commercial with Spike Lee that started with “It Gotta Be the Shoes” when the Jordan 3’s came out. Nike and Michael’s deal changed the land scape of sports for ever and started the shoe game.

All I can say is thank you Nike and Michael making “The Deal.”

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Categories: NBA

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