Michael Jordan has established one of the most recognizable sports brands for an athlete with the Jordan Brand.
Even though it is an off-shoot of Nike, is crucial in the perception Nike has as the best brand in sports today. MJ recognized the value of this brand and wouldn't like it when people around him wore shoes from opposing companies around him, as once revealed.
Scottie Pippen: "He wouldn't sign an autograph for you, he wouldn't even look at you, and you definitely weren't coming inside his house. It was all about Nike and eventually Brand Jordan. I fully understand.
Chauncey Billups would narrate a story from his first NBA game about how wearing Jordan's against MJ could backfire on the court.
Chauncey Billups: "My very first game was against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. We got Greg Minor guarding him. MJ is going to the free throw line and he looks at Greg and says, 'I should make you take my shoes off.' I looked down and he got the Jordan's on, so I said, ah man this my first game, and this is what I gotta look forward to?'"
Michael Jordan solidified his status as a billionaire through his association with Nike and the eventual establishment of the . The basketball legend has left an impact that may outlive him just through the legacy of the shoes that the brand has produced.
What MJ achieved in the business world allowed players that came after him to understand the value they bring to companies. The player will obviously benefit if they're signed to one of the primary sports brands, but the brands benefit immensely as well. MJ is the best helped everyone look at Nike and the as proven high-quality because of what MJ did on the court.
LeBron James used this strategy to , looking at ownership stakes with all his deals instead of endorsing products for a fee. He has his own off-shoot brand with Nike, though it doesn't operate at the same scale as Jordan Brand. Stephen Curry does have a deal that is more like Jordan but with .
What Pippen said about people not being allowed into the Jordan house if they're wearing non-Jordan gear is very true. Rapper Bow Wow faced this when he stayed at MJ's house with his son Marcus while wearing non-Jumpman shoes.
“Every time my tour came through the Chi, I would just stay at [the Jordan] house,” Bow Wow recalled. “I went over there with my AIs on, I woke up, and they was gone. I remember. This is a true story. Mr. Jordan came in there, I was sleeping on the floor of Marcus’ room, Marcus on the bed, whatever, he kicked me up like, ‘Hey, all ya’ll wake up.’ I swear to god. ‘Whose [sneakers are] these? And who has Duke shorts on in my house?” For better or worse, the rapper decided to own up to his wardrobe choices. Then, Jordan made it clear that he was the top dog of the house. I was like, ‘Oh, those are mine, Mr. Jordan.’ He was like, ‘Yeah? I figured.’ He threw ’em out. ‘Aye yo, John Michael [Jordan’s trusted security guard], get him some Jumpmans now.’ And that was the story right there. Absolutely. Swear to god on my life.”