"Do you think Michael Jordan really still eats McDonald's even though he is a millionaire?" is a question thousands of kids posed to each other in the 1990s.
According to Jordan, the answer is "yes," and one story about a product he refused to endorse reveals just how important it was for MJ to maintain an authentic image as he rose to fame.
In May 1992, . Mark Vancil asked Jordan about products he turned down, and His Airness revealed that he rejected one substantial offer because he did not use the product and did not like the name.
"Quaker Oats came to me to endorse Van Kamp's pork and beans — Beanee Weenees, I think it was called," Jordan said. "You ever heard of Beanee Weenees pork and beans? It was close to a million bucks a year. I'm saying, Beanee Weenees? How can I stand in front of a camera and say I'll eat Beanee Weenees?"
Beanee Weenee is a version of pork and beans that uses chunks of hot dogs instead of bacon. .
Two or three years before the interview, Jordan had not hit the peak of his playing career. He had one MVP award and had yet to win a championship.
Jordan wasn't broke at the time, but he was also a long way from
When he rejected Beanee Weenees, Jordan had made less than $4 million to $5 million total in four or five NBA seasons. Turning down a multi-year offer worth nearly $1 million per year was likely not a light decision.
Jordan also revealed in the interview that he backed out of a deal for a hair-care product because he was starting to go bald and didn't want to be "a hard-nosed businessman" over the contract.
"If I wanted to be a hard-nosed businessman, I could have been in a lot of deals, like the one with Johnson Products," Jordan said. "I had a deal with them for their hair-care products. I had two or three more years on that deal when I started losing my hair. So I forfeited the deal. But if I had wanted to be greedy, I could've said, 'Screw you, you didn't know my hair was falling out, so you owe me money.' But I didn't."
That decision kept kids from ever asking each other, "Do you think Michael Jordan still uses hair products now that he is bald?"