The #BlackLivesMatter movement has been a resounding success, with the power to force both sides of the conversation to change their rhetoric and actions in a way that could never have happened before. No longer can we claim that the movement is based on rhetoric; this is a movement that is making a difference.
A couple of years ago, the Chicago Bulls signed a new big man named Michael Jordan. When he signed the contract, he was the most famous athlete in the world. Now, however, he is an old man. He is also a retired NBA legend. But, the man being referred to here is not the retired player. He is a person who was not born in the United States. To put it simply, he is a person of color. He is a person that the “majority” did not want to exist.
It’s no secret that Michael Jordan has made far more money off the basketball court than on it, which of course should come as no surprise since that’s usually the case for any famous athlete in any sport. Clearly, MJ was on a much higher level than most people when it came to advertising. He has received checks from companies such as Gatorade, McDonald’s, Hanes, Wheaties, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola and many others since he appeared in the NBA in 1984 with the Chicago Bulls. But of all the companies he has backed over the years, he has made the most money with Nike, with whom he has worked since his first season.
No one, not even Nike or Jordan themselves, could have guessed how successful Air Jordan shoes would become. But they hit like a rocket when they hit store shelves, and more than 35 years later, Jordan Brand is bigger than ever.
However, if Jordan’s former Bulls teammate Craig Hodges had been right, Jordan would have left Nike before his first NBA title and started his own shoe company. Hodges suggested the idea to MJ when Jordan’s contract with Nike was up for renewal, saying it could do wonders for the black community. Her Majesty clearly did not, and Hodges still thinks it was a bad decision.
As we have known for some time, and as we were reminded in The Last Dance, Jordan was not a fan of Nike in his youth and preferred Adidas. And when MJ was selected to the NBA in 1984, Converse was the most famous shoe in the league and was endorsed by the biggest stars of the time, including Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
When MJ’s old agent, David Falk, suggested that Jordan meet with Nike, MJ did not want to go to the meeting at all and had to be persuaded by his mother. And it turned out to be the right decision, as Nike offered him a five-year contract worth $500,000 a year (plus the opportunity to earn even more through options and bonuses), more than triple what any other NBA player was making at the time. It was also the only company that wanted to make shoes with Michael Jordan, who of course became known as the Air Jordan.
As Falk explains in The Last Dance, Nike’s goal was to sell $3 million worth of Air Jordans in the first year. That turned out to be just under nine days, as Nike sold $126 million worth of sneakers in its first year. And as Jordan became a bigger and bigger star over the next few years, Nike’s profits soared.
But when Jordan’s contract expired, Hodges saw an opportunity.
During a very entertaining and informative 90-minute interview with VladTV, Hodges talked about how he approached Jordan about leaving Nike. Since he said it was between 1988 and 1990, we can assume it was around the time MJ’s original five-year contract expired.
Hodges, a social activist stigmatized by the NBA, came to MJ at the end of his contract and suggested he start his own shoe business. His idea was to employ black residents instead of exploiting cheap labor in Asia. He said those who were unemployed or selling drugs on the street would get jobs at a company he knew could become a successful brand, given the power of rising star Jordan.
But Jordan was not happy with the idea and asked Hodges: Who will remember me in ten years? As ridiculous as it sounds today, MJ clearly had no idea what a big star he had become. But Hodges saw the sign on the wall and knew Jordan would only grow up to be like him. He has become perhaps the most famous and celebrated athlete of all time, second only to Muhammad Ali, if not more so.
Again, Jordan clearly disagreed, and if Hodges still disagrees with the decision, MJ probably has no problem with the way things went.
Hodges calls MJ, who made over $1 billion from Nike, a Frankenstein monster created by white supremacists
(left to right) Michael Jordan; Craig Hodges | Mitchell Layton/Getty Images; Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images
According to Hodges, Jordan’s decision to stay with Nike did the black community no favors, and it still seems to bother him a lot. As he neared the end of this part of his VladTV interview, he said what happened to MJ:
MJ is a Frankenstein’s monster, created by white supremacists who made him a model for the world to devour in blackface.
Craig Hodges on Michael Jordan
In 2020, Jordan has earned about $1.3 billion from Nike since he signed his first contract in 1984, and still earns more than any current NBA player, including LeBron James. So, again, he’s probably happy with the decision he made at the time.
A few years later, Hodges tried to get Jordan to take a stand again by asking him and Magic Johnson to boycott Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals between the Bulls and Lakers, which took place just three months after the Rodney King and LAPD incident. Jordan apparently rejected this request as well.
COMPARED TO: Craig Hodges chastised Michael Jordan for some of his comments in The Last DanceOne of the most celebrated basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan, has had a tumultuous career. Unlike the other best players in the game, he was not selected to the NBA All-Star team until his 4th year in the league. He spent 45 minutes in the NBA Finals during his 7th year. He was named an All-Star six times while scoring 30 points or more in his career five times. He became the youngest player ever to reach 20,000 points, was the NBA’s player of the year in 1984, and was the Finals MVP in 1991.. Read more about frankenstein book and let us know what you think.
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