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“Howard White Babysat Michael Jordan And I”: Charles Barkley Admits To Learning Life Lessons From The Nike Executive

Samir Mehdi

“Howard White Babysat Michael Jordan And I”: Charles Barkley Admits To Learning Life Lessons From The Nike Executive

Michael Jordan teamed up with Nike and changed the course of the sneaker industry forever in 1984. Howard White, an executive for sports marketing at Nike, was one of the most integral pieces in the ‘mission’ to bring the UNC alum to Nike as he was previously enamored by Adidas.

Jordan was so deadest on wanting to be with Adidas that he didn’t even want to attend the meeting with Nike. At the time, the latter company had the reputation of being a brand that tends mostly to track-and-field athletes. So, their basketball acumen wasn’t all too high in the eyes of the public.

It was MJ’s parents, James and Deloris, who urged their son to at the very least, hear what Nike had to offer. Clearly they gave a pitch for the ages as Michael dropped the idea of signing with Adidas and signed a 5 year deal worth $2.5 million that also gave him his own signature shoe.

Charles Barkley on Howard White

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon teamed up to tell the story about how Michael Jordan signed his first ever deal with Nike in 1984. In the movie, ‘Air’, Howard White plays an integral role and was played by Chris Tucker.

Tucker appeared on ‘Inside the NBA’ for a brief moment in tonight’s airing of the show after ‘beating’ Shaquille O’Neal to the board. He would sit down and talk about how he called up Charles Barkley to ask about what White was like and get more insight into the way he dealt with guys like him and Mike.

Chuck would go on to say that White had to babysit him and MJ quite often given that they were young athletes who had just been given quite a bit of money. White acted as a parental/advisory figure of sorts in their lives and they remain close to one another to this day.

Howard White had to help Charles Barkley more than Michael Jordan

Howard White had his hands full with Charles Barkley as the rebounding savant admitted that he was ‘stupider’ than MJ when it came to making decisions. He described White as an older brother of sorts and even as an uncle at times.

White has showcased his love for Jordan and the rest of his athletes on a multitude of occasions. He claimed that the first time he knew he was going to build something special with Michael Jordan was when he first saw him jump in the air.

About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi


Samir Mehdi is a senior strategist for the NBA division at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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