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How Michael Jordan and Nike Changed Fashion In Basketball

Michael Jordan retired in 2003 after 15 seasons in the NBA, having debuted in 1984. Twenty years later, he is still the highlight of basketball forums. MJ is a 6-time NBA champion, a 6-time NBA Finals MVP, a 5-time NBA MVP, a 14-time NBA All-Star, and a 3-time NBA All-Star. He also won two gold medals in the 1984 Los Angeles and 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Accolades such as winning the championship six times and being the MVP (Most Valuable Player) five times came during his time with the Chicago Bulls from 1984 to 1998. He averaged 30.12 points and 33.4 points in the regular season and playoff series, respectively, which is still the current NBA record.

Fans consistently bet on either the Chicago Bulls winning as a team effort or Jordan’s average points tally owing to his brilliance on the court. In most cases, bettors made more money from wagering on his statistics for most games. If Michael Jordan still played today, bettors would have made more money from live bets with sportsbooks paying up fast and on request. It typically takes less than 5 minutes on modern-day platforms, while Playup withdrawal times are quicker, taking a minute or two.

Aside from Michael Jordan’s accolades, his cultural impact helped transform the NBA into a multi-billion-dollar franchise. Before he was a household name in the NBA, Nike, the global sports giant, struggled to generate income in its basketball division. However, a salesman in this division envisioned signing a young MJ, who was then a rookie, to wear the company’s custom sneakers.

At the time, the global icons were Larry Bird and Earvin Magic Johnson, who wore Converse Chuck Taylors. Adidas, which is Nike’s main competitor in the 21st Century, was looking for an accomplished player in the NBA to carry their brand forward. Jordan eventually signed for Nike for $15 million on a 5-year contract. However, unbeknown to Michael Jordan or Nike, this partnership was cast in stone to last forever.

They named the first collaboration the Jordan 1, which retailed for $65 on 1st April 1985. The sales projections initially estimated 100,000 pairs would sell in the first year, having only flagged them off in six states. In the first month alone, they sold 450,000 pairs, meaning they could barely keep up with the demand. Nike tripled the price of the shoe due to the soaring demand. In 2023, the cost of the same shoe (Legends of Summer Black model) is a retail price of 6,500 Euros, about $7,000. On resale websites, avid collectors can buy the same shoe starting from a bid of $3,000 to over $33,000.

In 2022, Nike released the Air Jordan 37, which netted $5 billion in sales. His royalties from this sale meant that he earned a whopping $150 million. Over his lifetime as a basketballer, he only managed to amass a fortune of $86.7 million from salaries and other endorsements.

From 1985 when Michael Jordan wore the Jordan 1s till 2022, he accumulated a personal net worth of over $1.3 billion and influenced over 75% of players in the NBA to sign and wear either Jordans or Nikes. The shares have risen by 84,129% since the first time he wore the iconic Jordan 1s.

Statistically, from 1985 to 2003, Nike’s stock has grown by 9,305%. Since he retired in 2003, the stock has risen by another 824% thanks to modern fashion trends that incorporate the shoe. Fashionistas and models around the world have made it trendy to wear the shoe, and with the rise of social media, models are seen wearing the shoe on their social accounts.

Most pundits have claimed that Magic Johnson, who was regarded as the unique basketball player before Jordan’s time, had re-written the roles of offensive and defensive players. His uniqueness on the court as a tall player built for defense yet excelling in ball handling and offensive play made pundits claim that he invented modern basketball.

As for Michael Jordan, every avid fan agrees that he made basketball cool and stylish because he became the best ever to do it and accomplished it as the most trendy player on the court.

Today, Air Jordans are certified as the best-selling shoes in the world, and the NBA is yet to see another player influence sales of over $5 billion in a year over the course of their career.