Michael Jordan admitted that he didn’t believe it was his place to call out Nike over allegations that they were running sweat shops.
Michael Jordan is the wealthiest athlete to have ever existed. He certainly didn’t amass such a wealth through his NBA contracts as he merely earned a total of $93.7 million during his 16 seasons in the NBA. Over two thirds of that total was collected in his final two seasons with the Chicago Bulls where Jerry Reinsdorf and company paid him $30 million and $33 million in ‘97 and ‘98, respectfully.
His main source of income following his retirement would definitely have to be his ‘Air Jordan’ line of shoes. These sneakers were popular well before his retirement however as they sold $100 million worth of pairs in their first year of release; a number that is unfathomable when sales were projected to be around the $3 million mark.
His first contract with Nike saw him make $500,000, with half of that amount being paid upfront. Fast-forward to today and Michael Jordan has made $1.3 billion from selling Jordan brand apparel and sneakers, bring his total net worth to $2.6 billion.
Michael Jordan refused to speak out against Nike.
Just as how LeBron James refused to speak out against the Chinese government as China is an extremely large fanbase of his, Michael Jordan denied to call out Nike over allegations of them utilizing sweat shop labor. This all took place in 1996, when news of Nike’s unethical tactics to pump out more shoes were finally receiving mainstream attention.
Michael Jordan was questioned on the accusations made against his parent company the night he won Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Seattle SuperSonics.
“I heard that Kathie Lee has kind of put me and other people in her fight or whatever. But I think that’s Nike’s decision to do what they can to make sure everything is correctly done. I don’t know the complete situation. Why should I? I’m trying to do my job. Hopefully, Nike will do the right thing, whatever that might be,” said the eventual 1996 NBA champ.
A spokesperson for Nike, Donna Gibbs, called out Kathie Lee for trying to bring their superstar athlete into the mix, saying, “It’s also too bad that Kathie Lee Gifford has found it necessary to avoid the media spotlight by pushing Michael Jordan into it.”