Michael Jordan favored Adidas over Nike for now-historic shoe deal

NBA legend's Air Jordan deal with Nike has since made billions

Michael Jordan had initially wanted to work with Adidas over Nike in what has since become a highly successful, billion-dollar relationship – but Adidas reportedly wasn't able to win him over, according to Sunday's episode of ESPN's "The Last Dance."

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The NBA great admitted in the episode he had hoped to partner with Adidas for a shoe deal in 1984, but his mother forced him to sit in on Nike's pitch, according to TMZ's recap of one of Sunday night's two new episodes.

The deal has since earned the sports brand billions.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
NKENIKE INC.128.37-1.62-1.25%
ADDYYADIDAS AG161.95-5.72-3.41%

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"My mother said, 'You're gonna go listen. You may not like it, but you're gonna go listen,'" Jordan recalled in the episode. "She made me get on that plane and go listen."

Jordan was not shy at the time about his preference for Adidas, which Forbes reported had double the revenue of Nike at the time.

But Adidas reps said at the time: “We'd love to have Jordan, we just can't make a shoe work," according to the series.

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He acknowledged in an interview for the 10-part docuseries he went into the meeting with Nike "not wanting to be there."

"Nike made this big pitch," Jordan said, adding that his father told him, "You'd have to be a fool not taking this deal. This is the best deal."

Nike offered Jordan a $500,000-per-year deal for five years through its Air Jordan partnership, which began in 1984. Nike sold $126 million in Air Jordans its first year, according to the TMZ report.

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Forbes reported Nike has since paid Jordan roughly $1.3 billion.

Reps for Adidas did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

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