Just recently, Sotheby’s auctioned a pair of the Nike sneakers that Michael Jordan wore during the 1998 NBA Finals – his final “Last Dance” season with the Chicago Bulls. The Air Jordan XIIIs, which many consider to be the most famous and recognisable basketball sneakers of all time, fetched $2.2 million, an all-time record. But how did it all start?
When Nike first introduced the Air Jordan brand, it was initially met with scepticism from both the basketball world and the public. But with some of the world’s best sports marketing, Nike was able to convince people to buy into the brand and turn it into a cultural phenomenon.
The key to success was the integration of Michael Jordan into the Nike brand. Nike recognized his immense talent and personal brand and built a marketing campaign around him that emphasised his competitive spirit and unique style. This, coupled with the innovative design and performance of Air Jordan sneakers, created a product that stood out from the competition.
But it wasn’t just about the shoes. Nike also leveraged Jordan’s personality and image to create a narrative around the brand. They produced commercials and print ads that showcased his talent and charisma and positioned him as a cultural icon.
Through these efforts, Nike was able to convince people that the Air Jordan brand was more than just a pair of sneakers – it was a symbol of excellence and individuality. And the public responded. Sales of the Air Jordan line skyrocketed, and it became a must-have item for basketball players and sneaker enthusiasts alike.
Michael Jordan’s name propelled Nike into the stratosphere of the sneaker world. Today, the Jordan brand is worth an estimated $10 billion. There has never been an athlete in the history of the game whose merchandise has generated such a craze for almost half a century.
Jordan gets a yearly paycheck of around $150 million, or royalties of 5% per shoe sold. His signature shoes sell for between $180-$220, which means he gets between 10-12 dollars per shoe. Based on the number of sneakers sold per year, that means Michael Jordan is now a multi-billionaire.