Also known by his initials MJ, Michael Jordan’s biography on the official National Basketball Association (NBA) website states: “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” The American former professional basketball player and businessman were vital in popularizing the NBA around the world during the 1980s and 1990s. Michael Jordan has played 15 NBA seasons and won 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls.
Eventually, he became a Cultural Icon. It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that the name Michael Jordan is a brand in itself. For such a popular personality and a great basketball player, brands couldn’t turn a blind eye to partner with Michael Jordan for marketing and endorsements.
Michael Jordan became one of the most marketed sports figures in history for endorsing brands which made the brands themselves big and Jordan himself popular and wealthy:
In 1984, Nike was a struggling company when they signed a deal with a 21-year-old NBA rookie. Michael Jordan signed a US$500,000 five-year contract with the company with an upfront commitment of US$250,000 and gave him his own signature brand - Air Jordan, which was more than any other NBA deal at that time.
Nike Air Jordan I, the popular Black and Red shoe, was the one that started a revolution. After Air Jordan was released at a retail of US$60, it made US$126 Million in the first year alone, shattering the prediction of US$3 Million in four years. According to Forbes, it was estimated that the Nike Air Jordan brand was worth US$3 Billion and MJ's current lifetime deal with Nike was US$1.3 Billion at the end of 2019.
Michael Jordan repped with Coca-Cola through several commercials in the 1980s. After the deal was up, Coca-Cola refused to give Jordan the deal he was seeking: a 10-year, seven-figure deal. Gatorade, owned by Quaker Oats at the time, pounced on the opportunity and gave Jordan the same deal which paid him US$13.5 Million over a 10-year deal to be Gatorade’s only endorser in 1991.
Michael Jordan has had a good relationship with the company. Since 1991, he has appeared in over 20 commercials for Gatorade, including the famous “Be Like Mike" commercials in which children sing a song wishing to be like Jordan. Almost over three decades later, those commercials still remain popular.
Soon after he received a signing bonus of US$10 Million from the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan reportedly bought seven cars for his family and himself, at once! He was a big enthusiast of cars.
Chevrolet was Jordan’s first-ever endorsement deal for a sum of US$200,000 during his rookie year in 1984, well before he became an international phenomenon.
The McJordan Burger was a limited edition McDonald’s Burger which was released in 1992 and Michael Jordan himself appeared in the commercials too. MJ became the first celebrity in history to have a meal named after him.
One of the most famous McDonald’s commercials was, featuring Michael Jordan and Larry Bird where they competed in a game of HORSE for the prize of Big MAC and some fries, in 1993.
Ball Park Franks
Michael Jordan's endorsement endeavours stamped into the food industry with Ball Park Franks signing Jordan for a US$2 Million deal in 1990. Jordan appeared on the posters wearing a red basketball jersey and holding a hotdog in his hand. The famous poster at that time was Jordan in a slam dunk jump position with the hot dog in his hand, instead of the basketball.
Rayovac, a privately held battery manufacturer which was the third-largest US battery company at that time, signed Michael Jordan for a long term endorsement contract, in 1995. Although the terms were not disclosed, the deal was estimated at US$10 Million over 10 years.
According to the deal, Michael Jordan was a spokesman for Rayovac Power Station chargers and Renewal Reusable Alkaline Batteries.
Michael Jordan became the 7th celebrity athlete to grace the cover of one of the famous boxes when he signed up with the Breakfast Cereal brand for US$2 Million in 1988. Wheaties was a popular brand and as an athlete, you know you have made it when you have appeared on the cover of a Wheaties box.
On Wheaties’ website, they say no other athlete has appeared more on the cover of their boxes than Michael Jordan - a whopping 18 times which is a record standing till today. On eBay, some of MJ’s vintage Sports Cereal Boxes are still up for sale.
Michael Jordan signed with Hanes way back in 1989 and continues to be the underwear company’s brand endorser to this day. In 2019, the relationship marked 30 years and it was celebrated with MJ handing out 30th Anniversary Michael Jordan trading cards featuring his ads in packages of underwear. Over 800,000 bonus packs of promotional trading cards of Hanes men’s underwear were included.
According to Hanes, There were 170 different Fleer trading cards produced by the Upper Deck Company for the promotion. Each pack contained five cards. Ten of the packs contained a card autographed by Jordan.
Trading Card and Collectibles company, Upper Deck, signed Jordan for endorsement in 1992. Micheal Jordan’s rise was always greatly beneficial for Upper Deck, and they have pretty much been with MJ at the beginning of his career.
Upon Jordan’s two retirements, Upper Deck continued to create unique and amazing autographed cards and memorabilia in his honour, which often went for a ridiculous amount of money online.
Signed Jerseys (US$2,500), Basketballs (US$2,000) and Photographs (US$850 and up) - these were included in The Michael Jordan Collection for Upper Deck. Many unsigned photographs and prints for US$250 were the cheapest items whereas the costliest item was an autographed Fleer Rookie Car for US$30,000.
David Falk - The Super Agent Behind Michael Jordan’s Staggering Endorsement Deals
Falk’s ability to generate lucrative endorsement deals was pivotal in generating wealth and popularity for Michael Jordan, which in turn landed Falk with numerous other clients throughout the years. According to Forbes, the net worth of ‘His Airness’ as of 2021 is a massive US$2.62 Billion in inflation-adjusted earnings, making him the highest-paid athlete in the world.
There are no two opinions about Michael Jordan being the greatest basketball player of all time and the history of his endorsement deals due to his rise in sports made the name Michael Jordan, a brand in itself.
What is the net worth of Michael Jordan?
The net worth of Michael Jordan is $1.6 billion as of 2022.
Who is the wife of Michael Jordan?
Yvette Prieto, an American model is the wife of Michael Jordan.
How old is Michael Jordan?
Michael Jordan was born on 17 February 1963 and is 59 years old.
Why Michael Jordan is famous?
Michael Jordan is known as one of the best basketball players in the world. He is known for winning six National Basketball Association (NBA) championships for the Chicago bulls and has also won NBA's Most Valuable Player (MVP) five times