How a Single Dinner Convinced Phil Knight of His $2,500,000 Gamble on Newbie Michael Jordan

For Phil Knight and Nike, taking a 2.5 million gamble on an NBA newbie required a lot of convincing. We take a look at how a dinner changed it all for Nike and Jordan. 

Jordan entered the league in 1984 with the Bulls, at the time it was clear that he had a lot of potential.

Nike wanted to sign Jordan to a shoe deal and make him the most marketable athlete in the league.

In order to do so, Nike offered Jordan a $2.5 million over five years which made it the biggest deal of its kind at that time. 

Naturally, Phil Knight, the founder of Nike was apprehensive of doing such a deal given the risks involved.

However, he was convinced of the deal after meeting Michael Jordan for dinner. 

Nike believed selling $3 million of the Jordan brand over five years would be a good return.

However, in their very first year Nike and Jordan sold over a $1 million in shoes.