The story of Michael Jordan breaking barriers and creating Jordan Brand after meeting with Nike (NYSE:NKE +0.00%) executives in 1984 began with great doubt from the star NBA player. While it may have seen like a no-brainer now, Jordan was initially quite hesitant and was unsure if they wanted to sign with Nike since adidas was his top choice at the time. While his first deal with Nike had him for half a decade and a flat payment of $500,000 USD a year, they sold the deal to Jordan with the promise to allow him to create his own signature shoe.
Now, almost four decades later, the Jordan Brand is one of the most successful footwear and apparel brands in the fashion, athleisure and sports performance industry. While Nike only projected that Michael’s Air Jordan 1 would only bring in $3 million USD over the course of four years, it actually brought close to $130 million in the first 12 months. According to The Sports Rush, the Jordan Brand generates approximately $3 million USD in sales in just five hours. In the past five years, the Jordan Brand has brought in $19 billion USD for Nike.
Though the brand generates close to $20 billion USD, Michael only receives 5% from the brand. In 2020, it was reported that Jordan’s contract earned him $1.3 billion USD from Nike, the most any athlete has made from Nike. Following in his footsteps is another all-time NBA player, making strides for Nike. LeBron James is now worth over $1 billion USD and it is safe to say that Nike and James’ partnership will continue to flourish overtime.