Michael Jordan’s relationship with Nike, one of the most profitable endorsement deals in sports and marketing history, almost didn’t happen had it not been for the NBA legend’s parents, who encouraged him to sign with the athletic gear company.
But when he wanted to leave Nike, his father James Jordan got him to stay by scolding him for being late to a meeting with company executives, according to Yahoo Sports.
When Jordan broke his foot while wearing a pair of Nikes in 1985, he was ready to move on from the company, and sign with Adidas, as was illustrated in the ESPN documentary “The Last Dance.”
But the company designed a new shoe, the Jordan 3 with his input. Nike CEO Phil Knight didn’t think that would be enough to keep him.
A meeting was set up with the company and Jordan, but the Chicago Bulls icon reportedly kept them waiting for four hours while he played golf. "Phil was very, very concerned. I think he thought for sure we had lost him. There was this one last meeting. It was in this hotel,” Tinker Hatfield, the designer of the Jordan 3 told ESPN.
When he showed up, James Jordan told Michael that he and his mother Deloris were “embarrassed” by his lateness. Michael, asked his father what he should do, but his dad kept chewing him out, telling him that it was clear that Nike was committed to working with him.
So Jordan listened to his dad and wound up staying with the company. Since that time Jordan has made more than $1 billion with Nike, according to Forbes.