Beyond his illustrious NBA career, Hall of Famer Michael Jordan‘s legacy extends well off the court. Jordan has become an iconic sports figure that has put forth an equally prestigious sports apparel line with Nike called Air Jordan. It’s a brand that has a unique story in how its name came about that saw the former Chicago Bulls great need an assist from his agent.
Air Jordan brand
Over the last few decades, Jordan has seen his brand grow to global recognition as being one of the most iconic sports apparel lines.
It’s been a part of what has fueled Jordan’s image behind his clothing and shoe brand that has become a stable in the basketball community. He has put forth many memorable models of his shoes over the years that have been the backbone of helping his apparel line grow tremendously.
His success as a businessman has been the backbone of his financial prosperity over the year. That has helped him become the first professional sports athlete to reach a net worth north of $1 billion, which has now reached $2.1 million.
The Jordan brand company has also become a business giant being reportedly worth $11 billion. Jordan also hauled in $130 million in 2019 from Nike, which was more than four times what Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James earned over that span.
Michael Jordan’s agent created Air Jordan name
Jordan’s first deal with Nike in 1984 saw him ink a five-year contract that paid him $500,000 annually. It also earned him the opportunity to work to garner an apparel line with the company due to his growing popularity.
That saw Nike executives push Jordan for a name for a personal brand that the company could sell merchandise. According to Darren Rovell of the Action Network, Jordan’s agent, David Falk, stepped up by coming up with the now-iconic Air Jordan name in less than a minute. (H/T Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report)
“He felt that Michael had no credibility as a 21-year-old basketball player to suggest he was the designer of his own line. He said, ‘Look we may be willing to do it, but you have to come up with a name and it cannot be Michael Jordan.’ I literally wanted to strangle him. I mean, I was so frustrated. It literally came to me in probably less than a minute. And I said, ‘OK, we’re going to call it Air Jordan.'”
Falk voiced that he felt that the use of air was a double entendre as it both represented the company’s air technology with their shoes along with Jordan’s ability to dunk gracefully. It was a spur of the moment decision from him that forever shaped the brand what it has become today as one of the most recognizable names globally.
In hindsight, it’s a move that helped Jordan’s brand take off to the next level. It’s a pivotal moment for the Hall of Famer that allowed him to build a brand that has helped him garner $1.3 billion since his first deal with Nike.
Michael Jordan’s business legacy
The Air Jordan brand has become the backbone of his financial success over the years.
The former Chicago Bulls star has played a massive part in helping Nike become a sports apparel company giant. He has also become the gold standard that current and former professional athletes measure themselves against over the years.
Jordan maximized his profitability from his brand that has taken off to tremendous heights due to his involvement with Nike. His legacy has far reached anything he has accomplished on the court as his wisdom in the business realm has only further cemented his legacy.