David Falk: Michael Jordan's Nike Contract the Best, Worst Deal I've Ever Made

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 11, 2020

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2019 file photo, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan speaks to the media about hosting the NBA All-Star basketball game during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C.  The Supreme Court said Monday it won’t step in to referee a copyright dispute between Nike and a photographer who took a well-known image of basketball great Michael Jordan. That means lower court rulings for the athletic apparel maker will stand. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

On Sunday, May 3, the fifth episode of The Last Dance delved into how Michael Jordan landed with Nike in 1984. 

David Falk, Jordan's agent, joined The Herd with Colin Cowherd Monday to further discuss the inner-workings of Jordan's $250,000 rookie endorsement deal with Nike that included a condition that His Airness would have his own signature shoe:

"The irony of the Air Jordan deal, it's probably the best deal I've ever made and it's probably the worst deal I've ever made because no one had a clue—including Nike—that you could sell $100 million worth of shoes for a rookie in his first year."

The Air Jordan 1 was released to the public in 1985. Falk disclosed during Episode 5 that Nike's expectation was to sell $3 million in Air Jordan sales by the end of the deal's fourth year, and those were far exceeded by a $126 million sum in one year's time.

Jordan initially had his heart set on signing with Adidas. But, as The Last Dance showed, his mother, Deloris Jordan, urged him to at least meet with Nike and hear what the brand had to say.

"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 (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.'"

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

There have been over 30 Air Jordan silhouettes released since then, making it the most iconic sneaker in history.

Jordan's worth has ballooned to $2.1 billion, per Forbes, in large part because of his partnership with Nike.