“Michael Jordan kickstarted his $1.6b empire with a humble $250k contract”: When David Falk marketed his Chicago Bulls client like he was the next Boris Becker or Stan Smith
Michael Jordan did not have the business acumen when he was a fresh-faced kid in college – His agent taught him the killer instinct.
Michael Jordan began life as a simple guy with ambitions to be in the league – even MJ did not envision himself sitting on a throne atop 1.6 billion dollars. This however could have been very different, if he had made his choices for himself. David Falk, MJ’s manager at the time had a revolutionary idea to market Jordan as an individual sports athlete and not just a part of a team.
The agency he worked with – ProServ catered to mostly tennis, boxing and golf. To Falk, Jordan was a project waiting to explode, and that is exactly what he did. A young Jordan liked Adidas – he almost did not even make it to the Nike headquarters. To be fair, they were known more for their track and field stuff, no basketball yet.
But it all changed when Mama and Papa Jordan took him by the ear to make him listen to Nike’s pitch. After they had made their half an hour presentation, the sails blew in their favor, and Michael Jordan was on team Nike. This deal set back the sports manufacturing company a record $250k when the bigwigs like converse were paying Magic Johnson and Larry Bird only $100k.
It was a gamble, but he paid them back manyfold in the first year itself. He made them a whopping $126 million in sales. (Watch the full segment on Last Dance on Netflix)
Michael Jordan almost ended up being just a regular Basketball big name – but now he is an era-defining icon
Michael Jordan could have been another basketball player known for his stuff on the court, but nothing outside of it. But his well-wishers knew better and decided to guide him in the right direction. Sometimes, Parents do understand (get the Will Smith reference?).
The story of Air Jordan is legendary in the Basketball circuits – everybody knows it, and dreams of being the next MJ. While few may ever get close to being him, the rest have to be content by owning a piece of history by buying his merchandise. LeBron James and Kobe Bryant came close, but nobody is surfing crowds to buy the next LeBron, are they?
The Air Jordan line is a fashion statement – a pièce de résistance if you will. Everything is fair in love and war and also buying the latest pair of Jordan’s that drop on the weekend. If only these bots and resellers didn’t grab up every last pair.