Hehir: OJ Simpson Tried to Get Michael Jordan to Sign with Spot-Bilt over Nike

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2020

Former basketball superstar Michael Jordan speaks during a press conference ahead of NBA basketball game between Charlotte Hornets and Milwaukee Bucks in Paris, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus))
Thibault Camus)/Associated Press

Sunday's installments of The Last Dance covered Michael Jordan's decision to sign with Nike over Adidas, but there was a third, far lesser-known brand that nearly landed His Airness.

Director Jason Hehir told the Jalen & Jacoby Aftershow that Jordan nearly signed with Spot-Bilt, now known as Saucony, and that former NFL running back O.J. Simpson acted as the driving force in the company's relationship with MJ:

"They matched the [Nike] offer. Michael Jordan came this close to being with Spot-Bilt because the spokesman for Spot-Bilt at the time was another athlete who had broken and transcended some racial bounds, a guy named O.J. Simpson. And he said to the guys at Spot-Bilt: 'The kid out of Carolina is the next me. Go get him.'

"So they matched Nike's offer, but they couldn't match the market. They couldn't promise David Falk that they would market Michael the way that Nike would, and that ultimately is what put that [Nike] deal over the top financially for them."

Jordan wanted to sign with Adidas, but the company declined to give him a signature shoe. Falk, Jordan's agent, and Deloris Jordan, his mother, convinced him to take a meeting with Nike. Hehir said MJ reached out to Adidas before signing the Nike deal to give the company a last chance.

It declined.

While it's easy to imagine a world in which we're all wearing Adidas-branded Jordans, it's borderline impossible to think of rocking Spot-Bilts—a company with almost no name recognition in the United States.