One of America’s most iconic duos almost didn’t happen. No, we’re not talking about peanut butter and jelly or Simon and Garfunkel. Turns out, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan didn’t want to sign with Nike in the 1980s.
While appearing on Kevin Durant’s “The Boardroom,” Jordan’s former agent, David Falk, revealed Jordan initially had no interest in signing with Nike.
The relevant portion of the conversation begins around the 17:20 mark.
Falk’s quote reads:
“The amusing thing to me about Michael and Nike, he didn’t want to go. Didn’t know anything about it. Didn’t like the shoes. Didn’t want to go.
“The shoe wasn’t that great at the time, in ‘84. And Converse was the dominant brand. Converse had Dr. J, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bernard King, Isaiah Thomas. They were the official shoe of the Olympics. And Adidas had everybody else that matters.
“And I thought Nike was the hungriest for Michael. That they needed him the most. That they would do the most.”
Obviously, the deal worked out. Jordan went with Nike, and the two sides kicked off a relationship that would lead to an obscene amount of money. The company has released 34 versions of Air Jordan shoes, according to CardboardConnection.com. And that number doesn’t include the different variations of those shoes.
There you have it. One of the most well-known marketing relationships almost never happened. Instead of Air Jordans, you could have been wearing Air Bowies to school back in the day.
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