Michael Jordan’s $5 billion brand with Nike wouldn’t have existed if Spencer Haywood and Magic Johnson signed on!

Jeet Pukhrambam
|Published 27/08/2022

Michael Jordan’s namesake brand is now the face of the sneaker industry but it was a relationship that could have ended before it began. 

Nike and Michael Jordan are synonymous with each other. The two cannot exist in the modern world without one another. Nike’s subsidy, the Jordan Brand is among the world’s most popular brands.

The Air Jordan 1 silhouette is by far the most popular sneaker in the world. The result is a shoe that does numbers, crazy numbers. Nike makes more than $3 million dollars every five hours through the brand’s sales.

With numbers like that, you can bet Nike is very happy about having MJ on board. But back when they were making the pitch, there were two other athletes who could have been the replacement for Michael.

The two athletes were namely, Magic Johnson, and Spencer Haywood. And both could have been billionaires.

Also read: 100 fans gawked at Michael Jordan playing billiards with Charles Barkley

Spencer Haywood and Magic Johnson could have replaced Michael Jordan at Nike

Yes, before the Michael Jordan show began in the NBA, Nike, which wasn’t even called Nike at the time, was looking at two supreme athletes of the 80s.

The two in question? Magic Johnson and Spencer Haywood. Let’s take a look at their stories.

Spencer Haywood

Spencer Haywood could have been the first billionaire from the NBA if not for a callous blunder from his financial advisor. He was offered $100,000 in 1970 to sign onto Nike and 10% stock. He liked the deal and agreed on it.

So, where did he go wrong? Instead of holding onto the stock, he sold it, well, his financial advisor did. For a tasty sum of $100,000. At the time, it was a lot and Spencer walked away happily. However, had he just kept the stock it would be worth over $2.2 billion! Tragic.

Magic Johnson

Most of us are familiar with this story. Magic was offered $100,000 in Nike stock instead of cash and Converse offered him $100,000 in cash along with his shoe deal. Magic chose the latter.

In his own words, he didn’t know anything about stocks so he didn’t take the offer from Nike. That share would have been worth well over a mouth-watering $5.2 billion.

As for Michael, he is now sitting pretty with a $2.1 billion net worth. Stay tuned to this space for more stories on Michael Jordan from our vault.

Also read: How Michael Jordan’s $275 million move paved the way for 2 NBA legends to own NBA franchises

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About the author
Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam is TheSportsRush's editor and creative writer. After freelancing for five years as an independent writer, Jeet has created thousands of blog posts and articles. He now covers intriguing news reports and throwback stories on all things NBA. His interest in NBA started with the ascendancy of Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2016-17 season. Since then, Jeet has managed to coalesce his knowledge of the game and his writing to create pieces that are reflective of the current state of the league. In his free time, he enjoys techno, football, cooking, and traveling. Jeet takes pride in his critical thinking, music playlists, and his love for spaghetti.

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