If I could have dinner with one person, it would without a doubt be with one of my favorite athletes of all time, Michael Jordan. I’m sure we all know who Michael Jordan is, but incase you don’t, let me give you a little background information. The G.O.A.T. (Greatest of all time) is a former NBA basketball player and also one of the most iconic professional athletes of all time. Throughout his 15 NBA seasons, Jordan was a 6x NBA Champion, 6x NBA Finals MVP, 5x regular season MVP, 1x Defensive Player of the Year, 14x NBA All-Star, 3x All-Star Game MVP, 10x NBA scoring champion, 2x NBA slam dunk champion and 3x AP Athlete of the Year. These are only some of Jordan’s most significant accolades, but Jordan not only made an impact on the court throughout his career, he also significantly impacted the corporate world during and after his illustrious career.
During his playing days, we remember Jordan as a highflying, unstoppable scorer, who defied the laws of gravity. However, in addition to the numerous records he broke and set, Jordan did so much more that made him become so iconic. Prior to signing any shoe endorsement deals, Jordan was offered in 1984, $500,000 for 5 years to wear Nike basketball shoes. This was a no brainer for Jordan, but the only issue was that wearing Nike’s Air Jordans violated the NBA’s uniformity policy. This resulted in a $5,000 fine each game from league commissioner, David Stern. So, some quick math. $5,000/game x 82 games a season = $410,000. Luckily, for Jordan, Nike paid all of the fines and used this entire controversy as marketing strategy. The Air Jordan shoe was released in stores in March 1985 and within two months Nike had sold over a million pairs. Within the first year, Air Jordans generated $100 million in revenues for Nike. Today, 58% of all basketball shoe sales are Air Jordans and the brand generates over $2.5 billion in annual sales for Nike. This major story at the time was only one of the many major events during Michael Jordan’s career.
After successes on and off the hardwood, Jordan today has a net-worth of $1 billion. His successes throughout his career propelled him to become a spokesman for many corporate brands including Nike, Gatorade, Wheaties, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Ball Park Franks, Rayovac, and Hanes. Even more impressive, Jordan today owns 89.5% of the Charlotte Hornets who are valued at $600 million. Modern day Michael Jordan has not only established himself and his brand as a domestic powerhouse throughout the US, but also around the globe by collaborating with these major corporations. Yeah, I guess you can say MJ has done pretty well for himself.
Hoping that I wouldn’t be incredibly star struck and speechless of sitting at the same table as the G.O.A.T., if I did have the opportunity of having dinner with Michael Jordan there are many questions I would ask him. I would start off by asking him, “You have obviously had incredible success throughout your career on and off the court, what do you think is the essential component of success?” Talking to one of the most successful figures in our society, this is just a question I would have to know the answer to so I could possibly apply his response to my person development. Second, I would want to know what he thought of Nike’s marketing strategy so I would ask, “Do you think the marketing strategy of Nike in regards to the Air Jordans was ethical?” I’m sure during the time Jordan was wearing the Air Jordans he was under significant scrutiny from the league, but he had already signed the deal with Nike. I’ve always been curious to know if the contract effected him personally and his play on the court positively or negatively. I would hope to learn from his answers the knowledge and information that would allow me to develop and become successful.
Lastly, here are some of my favorite Jordan moments. Enjoy.