Michael Jordan is currently one of the most notable names that are currently associated with the Nike Brand, as his own shoe company Jordan is currently association with the brand. However, this all may have not have happened, if Adidas didn’t turn down the legendary Michael Jordan back in 1984.

Over 300 players in the NBA wear Nike and Jordan Brand shoes for their games while only 70 players wear Adidas. With Adidas’ deal with the NBA on their jersey’s set to expire after the 2017 season, Nike or Jordan can take over again, leaving Adidas with another mistake from the past to think about.

Notable NBA players currently signed with Nike/Jordan

  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Chris Bosh
  • LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Paul Pierce
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Russell Westbrook
  • Chris Paul
  • Blake Griffin
  • Kawhi Leonard

Notable NBA players signed with Adidas:

  • Damian Lillard
  • Dwight Howard
  • Derrick Rose

Per Ellen Emmerentze Jervell & Sara Germano of The WJS

In 1984, Adidas made a misstep that presaged others. A University of North Carolina basketball star named Michael Jordan wanted a sponsorship deal with Adidas when he went professional, say people familiar with the matter.

Adidas distributors wanted to sign Mr. Jordan, says someone who was an Adidas distributor then. But executives in Germany decided shoppers would favor taller players and wanted to sponsor centers, the person says, adding: “We kept saying, ‘no—no one can relate to those guys. Who can associate with a seven-foot-tall guy?’ ”

Adidas signed centers of the era, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—it still sells sneakers named for him. Mr. Jordan in 1984 signed with Nike, which built his name into a blockbuster basketball business. Mr. Jordan and Adidas decline to comment.

Too short for a shoe deal. Really?

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