Michael Jordan's Contract That Tied the Sneaker Game Laces Almost Didn't Happen

Well played, parents!

Adelina Vasile
3 min readFeb 6, 2022


Source: pixabay.com

Watching "The Last Dance" documentary about Michael Jordan, I learned that the contract that tied the laces of the sneaker game almost didn't happen.

Michael Jordan was a rookie when he signed the deal of his life. But in the beginning, he didn't even want to do it. Jordan didn't know a thing about Nike.

He liked Adidas. He wanted to sign with Adidas. And when his agent suggested hopping on a plane for a seven-hour flight to meet the guys from Nike, he said hell no.

Luckily, he had a smart agent who didn't take his no for this answer. What did the agent do?

He called Jordan's parents. Well played, agent, well played.

Michael Jordan's parents told the agent hell yeah. Or something along the lines, ensuring him that Michael will get into the plane. So he did, and the rest is… history? Well, actually no, not yet.

You're right to think Jordan didn't appreciate the sneaky move.

In the same documentary, his agent recounts that Michael came up for the flight but did not smile at all the whole day.

It made him think he would get fired by the end of the day, but that wasn't the case.

It makes you think of the power parents have over their children.

In a world where we're taught to let our kids make their own mistakes and learn from them, some parents still push things in a certain direction. Sometimes, that direction brings out the unexpected.

In 1984 when the contract was signed, Michael Jordan was, like I said, a rookie. Adidas and Converse well shadowed Nike. So, we might as well call it a fortunate bet.

That season Jordan played all the 82 games and scored an unprecedented 28.2 points plus the Rookie of the Year title.

Still, it was early to thank his parents for advising and encouraging him to sign with Nike.

In 1985, Jordan broke his foot right at the beginning of the season while wearing, you've guessed, a pair of Nike.



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself. Check my Substack here >> https://undressingcopy.substack.com/