Michael Jordan Banned From Giving His Hornets Players Jordan Brand Shoe Deals
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
Michael Jordan helped to build NIKE into the powerhouse athletic shoe and apparel company it is with the popular Air Jordan line. Now, the NBA is stepping in as Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, is building his Jordan Brand players by giving shoe deals to his Hornets’ players.
According to ESPN‘s Darren Rovell, the NBA has restricted Jordan from giving Hornet players any type of “Jordan Brand” deals because of salary cap rules. At least 6 Hornets’ players have gotten deals in the last 7 years.
NBA says MJ can’t choose who gets a Jordan shoe deal because of cap rules. (At least 6 Hornets have gotten Jordan deals in last 7 years.)
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 25, 2015
The logic behind banning Jordan from giving his players shoe deals is that Jordan might be able to use Jordan Brand deals to circumvent the salary cap to get his players extra money.
Michael Jordan is in a particularly unique situation because he is in such a power position. I am sure professional teams and other companies who offer endorsements work together all of the time, but it is a little different when Jordan, as an individual, can facilitate it all himself.
This is not the first time the NBA has stepped in to ban shoes or shoe deals. Back in 2010, the NBA’s then-commissioner David Stern actually banned some shoes claiming that they gave an apparent “unfair competitive advantage.”
The Athletic Propulsion Labs’ Concept 1 shoe advertised that its Load ‘N Launch Technology could increase a player’s vertical leap, and the league effectively banned its players from wearing the product in games before the 2010-2011 NBA season.
Jordan is familiar with being banned by the NBA as well, after Commissioner Stern banned the first Nike Air Jordan sneakers in 1985 claiming that the distinguished red and black colors of the shoes did not match the colors of the jerseys the rest of the Bulls’ team was wearing at that time.
Jordan continues to wear the sneakers and Stern responded by issuing a $5,000 fine for each game the shoes were worn. By today’s standards, a $5,000 fine in the NBA sounds like 50¢, but back then the fine was very significant. A regular 82 game season would rack up $410,000 in fines compared to Jordan’s $610,000/year salary at that time.
Nike made the smart move and paid the fines as Jordan continued to wear the shoes. David Stern’s ban actually brought more notoriety and propelled the sales of the shoe.
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