When Michael Jordan entered the NBA, there was a lot of buzz around what type of impact he would have at the pro level. One company that saw his potential was Nike. They signed him to a shoe deal, and as we all know the rest is history on the court with his play and off the court with his endorsements.
Part of Jordan’s legacy is his Air Jordan line from Nike. Not only is there the Air Jordan line, but there is the Jordan Brand sneaker line that has many famous athletes wearing shoes from MJ's line and are part of the Jordan Brand team.
Basketball is not the only sport that sees these well-known competitors don the "Jumpman logo." The Jordan Brand reaches players in the NFL, MLB, NASCAR and boxing. From veterans to rookies, the Jordan Brand team has over 30 athletes. In honor of Jordan getting married on Saturday, here is the top-10 list of Jordan Brand athletes who embody some part of Jordan’s tenacity to win or excel in their respective sport.
Maya Moore joined the Jordan Team back in 2011. Moore made a name for herself at Connecticut playing under Geno Auriemma. She helped lead the team to win 90 games in a row and back-to-back NCAA championship titles in 2009 and 2010. Her performance in those two years also earned her back-to- back National Player of the Year awards.
Now a force in the WNBA for the Minnesota Lynx, Moore won the Rookie of the Year award in 2011. She also played in a few other leagues around the world and won a championship title for Ros Casares Valencia in the 2012 Women’s EuroLeague.
Blake Griffin is usually good for at least one highlight a night playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. In his college days, playing at the University of Oklahoma, Griffin secured both the Naismith College Player of the Year and the John R. Wooden Men's Player of the Year in 2009.
With all his success at the collegiate level, it was a no-brainer that Griffin was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft. Unfortunately, Griffin was out the entire 2009-2010 season due to a knee injury.
Griffin made up for lost time the following year. He won the Rookie of the Year award in the 2010-2011 season and is a three-time NBA All-Star. Along with teammate Chris Paul, Griffin is making Los Angeles take notice of the Clippers and not just the Lakers.
Richard "Rip" Hamilton is well-known for his clutch shots coming off screens. Hamilton was drafted back in 1999 by the Washington Wizards, but is mostly known for his time with the Detroit Pistons.
Still in the NBA, playing for the Chicago Bulls, Hamilton is still a lethal scoring threat. Hamilton helped the Detroit Pistons win an NBA Title in 2004. Rip also won a college championship with Connecticut and won the MVP award.
Carmelo Anthony had just won his first NBA scoring title and is looking to lead the New York Knicks deep into the playoffs. Anthony received a great deal of heat for leaving the Denver Nuggets for the New York Knicks, but that is in the past, as he and the Knicks are wanting to win an NBA title.
The last time he won a title was back in college at Syracuse University. He played only one year in college, and it seemed like that was plenty of time before turning pro, since he is a six-time All-Star and is always a scoring threat.
Nowadays, the wide receiver position has guys looking to play the role of a diva. One wideout who is not following that trend is the Houston Texans' Andre Johnson. Success doesn’t inflate this guy’s ego. The five-time All-Pro led the NFL in receiving yards in 2008 and 2009.
In 2008, Johnson had at least 10 receptions in seven consecutive games, and that was the first time in NFL history that had ever happened. The Texans are a threat in the AFC and one of the reasons why is because of their standout wide receiver. Along with Arian Foster and Matt Schaub, Johnson hopes to help lead the team to a Super Bowl title.
No matter what team CC Sabathia is playing on, he will be considered that team’s ace pitcher. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner is currently playing for the New York Yankees, but has seen success on every team he has been on.
2009 has to be CC’s best year as he helped the New York Yankees win the World Series, and he was named the MVP of the ALCS that same year. Sabathia can be seen digging in a pair of cleated Air Jordans on the mound, looking to mow down batters one by one.
Like his teammate Blake Griffin, Chris Paul has his own shoe from the Jordan Brand. The six-time NBA All-Star was the fourth overall pick for the New Orleans Hornets back in 2005.
Paul won the Rookie of the Year Award and has made the All-NBA First Team in 2008 and 2012. Looking to try and bring an NBA title for the L.A. Clippers, Paul along with Griffin look to steal some of the “Showtime” mentality away from the L.A. Lakers with “Lob City.”
Even though Wade is no longer part of the Jordan Brand team, he, at one time, was the main guy for the Air Jordan line. The AJ 2010 (aka Air Jordan 25) featured Wade in all of the commercials.
Before Miami’s Big Three, Wade and Shaquille O’Neal won the franchise’s first title in 2006. Now, Wade has two NBA titles and has countless awards and honors. The Miami Heat’s all-time leading scorer left Jordan Brand in 2012 for a company called Li Ning.
By far one of the most gifted athletes the NFL has ever seen, Randy Moss has seen highs and lows throughout his career. When he is playing at maximum effort, nobody can defend him.
Moss has played for five teams, and over that span, he has made it to the Pro Bowl seven times. Randy holds the NFL record for the most touchdown receptions in one season with 23.
To ,Jerry Rice is considered to be the greatest wide receiver of all time, yet Randy Moss thinks he is the best wideout in the history of the NFL. During the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, Moss told reporters that he thought he was the best receiver of all time.
When a three-point shot is needed, there are a select few who can deliver in the clutch. One of those players is Ray Allen. The 10-time NBA All-Star has a knack for being at the right place at the right time.
He helped the Boston Celtics, in 2008, win a title against the L.A. Lakers. Allen even passed the great Reggie Miller this year with most three points made by an NBA player. Now, toward the end of his career, Allen is a member of the Miami Heat and is looking to win another championship.
Simply known as the “Captain,” Derek Jeter is a consummate professional. One of the first athletes to be part of the Jordan Brand team, Jeter dominates his sport just like MJ owned the NBA. Jeter is a 13-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove Award winner and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
More impressive than all those awards is that he led the New York Yankees to win five World Series titles. In 2011, he surpassed the 3,000-hit mark, and even though he is working through injury this year, Jeter could leave the game as the most decorated New York Yankee of all time.
Was there any doubt who would be No. 1? Jordan dominated the sport as he is a six-time NBA champion and a five-time MVP award winner. With countless accolades, MJ could instill fear on opposing teams. He was relentless on both sides of the ball.
From winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1985 to holding 10 NBA scoring titles, there will never be another player to take his place. He could probably still hold his own against players in the NBA today. Many athletes now have their own sneaker, but none can say they have a fleet of All-Star players in every sport wearing shoes from their line.