Michael Jordan Preferred Adidas over Nike, Converse out of College

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 4, 2020

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 8:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the Charlotte Hornets on May 8, 1998 at Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 1998 NBAE (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Nike can thank Michael Jordan's mother, Deloris Jordan, for landing His Airness.

"My mother said, 'You're going to go listen. You may not like it, but you're gonna go listen," Jordan revealed in Episode 5 of The Last Dance on Sunday night, referencing going to meet with Nike (h/t Robby Kalland of Dime). "And she made me get on that plane and go listen. I go into that meeting, not wanting to be there. Nike made this big pitch, and my father said, 'You have to be a fool not to take this deal. It's a great deal.'"

Jordan originally wanted to sign with Adidas:

Awful Announcing @awfulannouncing

"Did you have a shoe company that you wanted to go with?" Michael Jordan: "That was Adidas." Welp, that's one hell of a missed opportunity for Adidas. Worked out pretty well for Nike. #TheLastDance https://t.co/qU0j8PVs2f

Jordan signed with Nike for $250,000 as a rookie in 1984 under the condition he would have his own signature shoe, which was fulfilled when the Air Jordan 1 was released in 1985.

"Nike's expectation was at the end of year four they hoped to sell $3 million of Air Jordans," David Falk, Jordan's agent, added in Episode 5 (h/t Jasmyn Wimbish of CBSSports.com). "In year one, we sold $126 million."

Action Network's Darren Rovell wrote for ESPN in February 2013 about how Jordan ended up with Nike, and he revisited excerpts from that article during ESPN's airing of The Last Dance on Sunday:

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

My account of Nike’s pitch to get Michael Jordan in 1984. https://t.co/aupp2OowBg

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

Converse offered MJ $100,000 a year. Nike offered MJ $500,000 a year. Adidas, MJ’s favored brand, never even presented him with an offer. My account of the why... https://t.co/2DYXnw7UCy

Rovell's original article disclosed that Jordan had told Rovell in 2008 that he had never worn a Nike shoe before signing with the brand.

Jordan's enduring Nike connection was explored on The Last Dance's fifth and sixth episodes:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

MJ covered the Reebok logo on his jacket with an American flag at the Dream Team gold-medal podium. He was Nike for life ✔️ @brkicks https://t.co/4KQGITQKsd

ESPN @espn

MJ put on a show in his final game as a Bull at MSG ... and his feet paid for it. #TheLastDance https://t.co/NZ5thDHZ0s

B/R Kicks @brkicks

The one that started it all #TheLastDance https://t.co/4mT1VxS2Wp

According to Forbes, Jordan's net worth is $2.1 billion, aided by his continual sponsorships with Nike, Hanes, Gatorade and Upper Deck.