The Power of Partnerships - Nike & Michael Jordan

The Power Of Partnerships - Nike & Michael Jordan

Find your perfect partner and take your business to the next level
May 13, 2020

The year was 1984. A rookie by the name of Michael Jordan was about to start his first season of the NBA looking for an athlete endorsement deal and keen to sign with Adidas. Along came Nike, a brand predominantly known at the time for long-distance running shoes. Whilst everyone recognised the immense talent in this rookie, Nike was ready to put all their chips on the table and offered him a deal far more lucrative than the bigger sports apparel companies such as Adidas.

Michael Jordan had never even worn a Nike shoe at the time but was convinced by his parents to take the deal over Adidas, commencing the legendary partnership between Michael Jordan and Nike. The Air Jordan was born and the rest is history.

NBA rules meant that players could only wear white sneakers at the time. Leveraging the fact that Michael Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls, Nike designed the first Air Jordans in red, black, and white. The NBA was not best pleased and fined Michael Jordan $5,000 every time he wore the shoes. However, Nike was willing to pay the fines and have the shoes stand out from the crowd. They predicted $3 million of sales of the Air Jordan in the first four years of the deal. Nike actually sold $126 million in the first year alone.

Nike became a mainstream shoe, having previously been known mainly as a track running shoe, slipped into popular culture as the edgy must-have sneaker, and is now one of the most recognised brands on the planet.

Michael Jordan went on to become arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, and off the field, he has also made $1.3 billion to date from his deal with Nike, alone.

This shows the power of partnerships and how two new entrants to an arena can combine forces to make a massive impact. Sometimes, partnering with someone that understands your vision and can strategically help you scale your business is the key to long-term success.

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Contributors: ZAIN ALI

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