The Nike Story
While Adidas was trying to figure out ownership issues after Adi Dassler, founder of Adidas, and his wife both died in the same year, Converse snuck in. Jordan didn't really want to meet with Converse, but coach Dean Smith had a tight relationship with the company.
Converse offered Mike $100k/yr but lacked the innovative ideas to compleatly. Jordan's father asked them what new ideas did they have in mind, never receiving an answer because they didn't have any. Converse did have the athletes, Bird, Magic, and Dr.J all with different color ways for the same shoe.
A small brand named Spot-Blit, a shoe owned by Hyde Athletics, also entered into the Jordan Sneaker Sweepstakes. OJ Simpson was president of Promotions at the time and suggested they go after Mike. The Brand used old Nike ads to come up with a storyboard for Mike.
Then came Nike. Nike was still trying to claim the top spot that was at the time held by Adidas. Converse and Adidas both weren't ready for Mike but Nike needed him.
Exhausted coming from the Olympics, Mike didn't feel like meeting with Nike. He told his agent, David Falk, "Just do what you need to get me with Adidas". Falk already had a smooth relationship with Nike, his other clients Moses Malone, Bernard King, and Phil Ford all under Nike, he wanted to get Mike under that umbrella too. But Mike wasn't budging, so that left Falk no choice. Falk, with his back up against the wall, went to Jordan parents to convince him to go to the Nike presentation.
Rob Stresser, Peter Moore, Howard White, and Sonny Vaccaro were the Nike team put together to lure in Mike. They met with Mike, his parent, and Falk, showing them a highlight tape to the song "Jump" by the Pointers sisters. Moore, who was the designer, showed Mike a red and black shoe design.
Adidas was on the top of Mike's list because he liked their shoe style. Nike at the time was making high-bulky sneakers that were opposite to Adidas' "low-to-the-ground shoes" hi-tops.
This is where things got interesting. Moore told Mike that he could tailor the shoe to his liking. This was a game changer because companies wasn't using the athletes opinion in shoe designs. Companies like Converse, was designing the shoe first then using the athlete for marketing. To me, I think this was the x-factor because that was the innotive idea Mike and pops was looking for.
The perfect marriage didn't happen after that though, in fact it almost didn't happen. Strasser, who was in charge in the basketball, offered Mike 2 Benzes on the spot while his boss, Phil Knight, was in the room. Mike told his agent he didn't want to go to another Nike meeting.
Then Nike flexed their finacial muscle that made Jordan reconsider. Nike offered Mike a 5 year deal worth $7 million dollar, that guaranteed Mike $500k in cash every year, and stock options. At the time, no one was making that kind of money in cash through a sneaker deal (Highest at the time was James Worthy's 8-yrs $150k New Balance deal). Nike also put in a clause that stated if Mike didn't win Rookie of the Year, become an All-Star, and average 20 in his first 3 years, it could end the deal 2 years early (if he sold $4 mllion worth in his 3rd year, he can keep the last 2 years)
Jordan went back to Adidas with the Nike contract saying if they came anywhere close, he would sign with them. Jordan ended up walking out with that same Nike contract.
Nike spent $1 million in the first 6 months just on Marketing alone. When the season started, the Jordan 1's were banned because of the black and Red color scheme, not enough "white" in the shoe. Nike paid Jordan fines and seen nothing but positive reactions for the-then, provactive shoe. The 1's were released in March 1985 at $65 a pair. By May, Nike sold $70 million worth, generating a revenue of $100 million. In the annual report for that year Phil Knight called it " A perfect combination of quality, product, marketing, and athlete endorsement".
Today, athletes are now making hundred-million dollar sneakers deals, and without Mike, they may not be possible. Mike was the perfect cover boy for Nike. Nike wa able to tell the story of Michael Jordan through his shoes. Each shoe has their own history and each shoe symbolizes a groundbreaking moment in Mike's career. Reason why we go crazy over them.