IFWT_Jordan Nike

Michael Jordan and Nike are now synonymous.  Together they’ve made the most popular and highest selling basketball sneaker line.  But all of that wouldn’t have happened if Adidas was just a little smarter and had some foresight.

Shay Marie

via The Wall Street Journal:

In 1984, Adidas made a misstep that presaged others. A University of North Carolina basketball star named Michael Jordan wanted a sponsorship deal with Adidas when he went professional, say people familiar with the matter.

Adidas distributors wanted to sign Mr. Jordan, says someone who was an Adidas distributor then. But executives in Germany decided shoppers would favor taller players and wanted to sponsor centers, the person says, adding: “We kept saying, ‘no—no one can relate to those guys. Who can associate with a seven-foot-tall guy?’ ”

Adidas signed centers of the era, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—it still sells sneakers named for him. Mr. Jordan in 1984 signed with Nike, which built his name into a blockbuster basketball business. Mr. Jordan and Adidas decline to comment.

Adidas has since been trying to infiltrate the basketball market but haven’t been nearly as successful as Nike.  In fact Adidas has decided not to renew their contract with the NBA as it didn’t seem favorable to them.