Of the array of sneakers in the archives of Nike, Air Jordan might be the most iconic and in 1984 Nike and Michael Jordan decided to join forces to launch Jordan brand, a brand of shoes and athletic wear centered around the player. A struggling company in the world of sportswear at the time, Nike had its fair share of troubles getting Jordan aboard their plans as Michael was more interested in teaming up with Adidas, but Adidas was not willing to match the $5 Million Dollars MJ would be making in a 7 year span with Nike. Once aboard the struggles continued as everytime the future 1984 Rookie of the Year would step onto the court wearing a pair of Nike Air Ship 1s (prototype for the Jordan 1s) the NBA would fine the star $5000. Instead of taking the shoes off the court Nike decided to pay MJ’s fines and used this as a way to endorse their brand, saying the shoes gave Michael an unfair advantage and gave future buyers a sense of edginess when wearing the shoe In April 1985 Jordan brand released its first shoe, the iconic Air Jordan 1 in colourways such as; Bred (also known as the Banned Jordan 1), Chicago and Bred toe. By May Nike had seen sales from the shoes hit $70 million dollars and $100 million by years end. Co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight has called the success of the Jordan 1 release as “the perfect combination of marketing, quality product and athlete endorsement”. This collaboration between brand and athlete has paved the way for the athletes of today to make millions off of endorsements. Companies all over the world now use athlete endorsements with any product, whether its phones, burgers or even insurance, athletes are great at selling just about anything and Michael Jordan and Nike really paved the way for them to get paid like it.
Written by Hector Nilo.