Imagine a strange world where up is down, cats chase cars and people on the Internet use the comment section for good.
This is the bizarro universe that could’ve been had Michael Jordan signed with Adidas—an occurrence that nearly came to fruition, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article by Ellen Emmerentzen Jervell and Sara Germano.
Penning a piece about Adidas’ hopes to reinvigorate its image in North America, Jervell and Germano slid in a detail about the German sports-apparel manufacturer considering and ultimately passing on offering Jordan a sponsorship deal in the early ‘80s.
Germano tweeted out an excerpt from the story detailing Adidas’ purported thought process. The company's German executives allegedly shot down a potential sponsorship deal with Jordan, believing he was too short to convey the image they wanted to project.
Welp. At least this decision won’t haunt every waking hour of all Adidas employees involved in the snub.
Jordan ended up signing with Nike in 1984, and the rest is sneakers, Spike Lee commercials and cargo freighters of cash. Forbes recently confirmed reports that the former Chicago Bulls guard had achieved billionaire status—an achievement built on a mountain of Nike apparel sales.
In fairness to Adidas, size is a changing trend in the NBA. The 6’6” guard takes over the game only to be phased out of popularity by the 7’1”, 300-pound space heater. Tracy McGrady-types fade, Shaquille O'Neals surge and the script is flipped. The league is currently embracing the renaissance of the small-guard—regular-sized human beings like Stephen Curry and Chris Paul who can do otherworldly things with the ball. In gunning for a big man, Adidas was ostensibly just trying to ride the wave of the time.
Still, if true, you have to think Adidas wants that one back.
Dan is on Twitter. He once traded away a Fleer Metal Shawn Kemp rookie card. He regrets it to this day.