Nike Paid Michael Jordan’s Shoe Fines

Grace Higgins | August 12th, 2019

Who doesn’t love Air Jordans? The most iconic basketball sneakers of all time. Kids all around the world would beg their parents for a new and fresh pair of Air Jordans. Not to mention every aspiring basketball player wanted a pair.

And why not? Michael Jordan is arguably the best player to have every graced the NBA courts, and the Air Jordans came out when he was at the top of his game. But not everyone was happy he had his own pair of sneakers, the NBA themselves did not like the colours! Apparently at the time you had to wear something that matched your team colors, and the Air Jordans did not match the Chicago Bulls.

In fact, the Air Jordans did not follow the correct color scheme, which meant that Michael Jordan should not even wear them for an official game. He was banned from wearing his own sneaker. As you can imagine Nike was not too happy about this, they had just signed Jordan into an enormouse marketing deal and not wearing the Air Jordans during games would be terrible.

The commissioner at the time Michael Stern decided to ban the signature sneakers because their vibrant color didn’t match his teammates uniforms. But Michael wasn’t about to listen to a commissioner, so he wore them anyways, which led to 5,000 dollar fines per match. In a season this would add up to 410,000 USD, a hefty amount.

Luckily Michael had an ace up his sleeve, he was the Airness after all. Nike would pay all his fines, even using the fact that they were banned in their advertising campaign. This led the Air Jordans to become the basketball shoe of a whole generation.

Eventually Stern relented and gave up trying to ban the sneakers. Letting everyone wear them freely for NBA games.

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