Michael Jordan is so synonymous with Nike that it was possible to make a film about it without him even in it, but the deal could have been very different.
As far as the face of a sport goes, few have managed it to the extent of Jordan, whose deal with Nike and the Air Jordans that followed, made him the face of basketball.
The story has recently been flung back into the spotlight thanks to Air, the film about the story of how it all came about, and there isn’t even a look at the former Chicago Bulls star throughout.
He did have some impact on the film though, making sure that EGOT winner Viola Davis played his mother, Deloris Jordan, in the movie.
That story may have been completely different, as Jordan very nearly signed for a different brand altogether, which would have been hugely damaging to Nike.
In an interview 14-years-ago, the 60-year-old revealed that he could have been an Adidas athlete instead of a Nike one, as you can see in the video below.
“You know what, the thing is, I never wore Nike shoes until I signed the Nike contract,” the former baseball player explained.
“All throughout college, we wore Converse, and up to that point, my favorite shoe was Adidas shoes. At that time, when everybody was trying to recruit me about what shoes to wear, I was pro-Adidas the whole time. And once I went through the presentation with Nike, they really made a great effort of having my input on the shoe, any shoes that I wanted to wear.
“But then I was very loyal. I went back to Adidas and said look; this is the Nike contract; if you come anywhere close, I’ll sign with you guys. Anywhere close to what they were putting on the table.
“But at that time, Adidas was a European brand that really didn’t make a strong push for the United States, and they didn’t feel that it was worth it, which in hindsight, was perfect for me because it made my decision much easier, and I ended up with Nike.
“From that point on, the relationship just started to blossom.”
Certainly the six time NBA champion did well out of the decision in the end, as he earned double his career earnings from the sport that made his name just in one Nike deal with the company last year.
It’s fair to say that Adidas rather dropped the ball on that one, similar to how Nike lost out to their rivals on Lionel Messi because of a small detail.
The whole landscape of sport, and especially the fashion within it, would have been very different if Adidas had made the right move, and so would Jordan’s bank account!