Michael Jordan was passed over by Adidas for a sneaker sponsorship around the time he went pro, it was revealed this week.
In an in-depth expose on the German shoe brand, The Wall Street Journal reported
that in 1984, when Jordan was coming out of the University of North Carolina, he sought a sponsorship ahead of being drafted by the NBA.
"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?"'" The Journal reported.
Adidas stuck with its strategy, and signed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Jordan, snubbed by Adidas, signed with Nike instead. To this day, both brands still sell sneakers under each man's namesake.
The Washington Post reported that during the 1984 draft
, Jordan was also passed over by the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Rockets drafted Hakeem (then known as Akeem) Olajuwon as the No. 1 draft pick, and Portland picked 7-foot-1 Sam Bowie. That left Jordan as the No. 3 pick when he was chosen by the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan would lead the Bulls to six championships in the following years.
This year, Jordan became the only billionaire athlete, according to Forbes.
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