Few shoes are as quickly and as easily recognizable as Jordans. The shoe brand, once the new kid on the block, is now one of the biggest on the planet. They sell more sneakers than just about anyone and constantly find new styles that appease both fans and players alike.
Not only that, but they are strongly tied to their founder. While most brands stand on their own, it’s impossible to separate Jordan shoes from Michael. The following guide will explain why that is, and what makes his situation unlike anyone else’s.
A New Start
As synonymous as Jordan’s shoes are with basketball, that was not always the case. The superstar first exploded onto the NBA scene after an incredibly successful college career, but he did so without a major shoe deal. That didn’t last long.
Converse was the first to put an offer on the table. They were the official shoe of the NBA at the time, which gave them a lot of negotiating power. Even so, they didn’t want to put Jordan above their other sponsored athletes, which led to the Bull’s legend rejecting their partnership.
After that, Michael Jordan wanted to go to Adidas but a deal never took shape. From there, Nike was the only big brand left. Jordan didn’t want to sign with the company, as they only really made track shoes at the time, but he eventually relented after they put a big offer on the table.
However, as with all things, Jordan didn’t just take the money. He took it in his own way.
Creating a Legacy
The legend first designed his own shoe in 1984 as something he hoped to wear during games. After many back-and-forth deals, Nike eventually agreed to not just help Jordan create the brand, but to give him a percentage of the revenue rather than a lump sum.
That was a big deal because, unlike most company acquisitions, it enabled Jordan to keep full control of the company. However, problems did arise.
Jordan often found himself fighting with Nike about his likeness, which they used to sell other products he did not create, and he didn’t like the company’s direction. In 2003, the two split.
It was a blow, but Jordan survived the ordeal with his ownership intact. He then partnered up with Adidias, retaining full rights, before going back to Nike in 2006. The second time around, Jordan had all the power. He kept exclusive rights and got his logo on each shoe.
While Nike still made and profited off of the sneakers, Jordan kept all creative control. In addition, the shoe giant never officially owned the brand. Rather, Jordan bought out the remaining 49 percent of the company that Nike owned in 2006. That made him sole owner.
The move was one of the best the hall of famer ever made from a business standpoint. Not only does he now see a percentage of every Jordan shoe made on Earth, but he gets to say exactly what shoes are produced as well as how they are produced.
Nike still owns the rights to the name “Air Jordan,” and the shoe line is technically a subsidiary of the Swoosh. Even so, nothing gets made, bought, or produced without Jordan’s input. That’s a lot of power for someone working with such a large brand.
Michael Jordan built a legacy on the court, and then he went and built an empire off of it. Not only that, but he had amazing foresight as well. He retained control of the brand because he knew what it could be someday, a move that paid off more than he ever imagined.