Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan refused to let any NBA player wear his Jordan brand shoes. Mike wanted his Team Jordan to stay exclusive.
Michel Jordan is considered to be the best player ever to suit up in an NBA jersey. Looking at his insane gameplay, dedication and illustrious resume, it’s understandable why people would refer to him as the basketball god.
His jaw-dropping performances would mesmerise not only his millions of fans but also his opponents. Till today, Mike is one of the most well-known sporting figures in the world.
There is no doubt that MJ is the most influential figure in basketball. However, his impact goes much beyond the hardwood. Thanks to his people charming skills, Mike has one of the biggest fan-following in the league, making him insanely marketable. His deal with Nike made him not only a megastar on the court but also an icon off the court.
Now more than ever, each and every fan want a pair of Air Jordan shoes. While it may be easy for fans to purchase these shoes and wear them, for a majority of NBA players, hooping in these shoes is practically impossible.
“Only players on Team Jordan can wear my shoes”: Michael Jordan
Former NBA veteran, Quentin Richardson, was one of the few players who His Airness, himself, had selected to represent his brand. On Raja Bell’s podcast – “Real Ones”, the two former stars discussed how Mike wouldn’t let just any player wear his shoes. One had to be a part of the Team Jordan in order to wear them. Bell said:
“I come into the league; I’m on a 10-day [contract], right?” Bell said on the Feb. 11, 2021, episode. “I cop my own pair of 16s. We’re wearing that Sixers’ alternate blue uni in Orlando. … So, I bought my own 16s, took the removable top off of them. They have the blue toe; all white, blue sides, blue toe. I am crispy, bro, national TV.”
Raja further added that the Sixers equipment manager wouldn’t allow him to wear those shoes:
“I was like, ‘What are you talking about? I bought these; they’re my shoes,’” Bell said. “He said, ‘Bro unless you’re Team Jordan, you cannot wear those.’ And my whole world was deflated.”
Quentin too narrated a story when MJ himself restricted other players from wearing his shoes:
“I used to give Corey Maggette, my teammate, I used to give him stuff, we wear the same size shoes,” Richardson said. “… One time my phone rings, [it was an] unknown number, I pick it up, [Jordan] was like ‘Yo.’ I’m like, ‘Hello?’ ‘Q, yo. [It’s] MJ.’ … (Jordan said) ‘I know you’re giving Corey the shoes, you can’t do that no more.’”
Clearly, one has to prove their worth before wearing the shoes with a Jordan logo on them. Certain superstars like Luka Doncic, Russell Westbrook, Zion Williamson and Jayson Tatum are a few who represent the multi-billion dollar brand. To put it simply, Michael Jordan only wants the best of the best representing his brand.