What does Nike own

Are Professional Athletes Making Too Much Money? Might be. They do a lot for that. At least that's what it always says. Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player of all time, doesn't actually need to get up from the sofa - and still earns more than ever before. All by his name.

In his 15-year career, Jordan received, according to US magazine Forbes Salaries totaling $ 94 million. Most recently, however, he managed to surpass this amount within a year: Jordan earned 100 million US dollars in 2014; but not through top athletic performance - but mainly through licenses for shoes and clothing, which the sporting goods manufacturer Nike sells under the "Jordan Brand" brand.

Nike signed Jordan in 1984 when he moved from college to the NBA. "Air Jordan" was the name of the shoes that Nike developed especially for him. The contract was a huge success for the company, which was struggling with falling revenues at the time. "Without the commitment from Jordan, Nike might never have become the largest sporting goods manufacturer in the world," says Gerd Nufer, professor of sport marketing at the ESB Business School. "Jordan was the first athlete to become a real brand." And his team, the Chicago Bulls, had done everything right by signing Jordan. The Bulls, who recently missed the playoffs and urgently needed reinforcements, suddenly had one of the best players in the league. A unique career followed with six NBA championships and two Olympic golds.

For some models, fans camp in front of the shops

That time has been over for a while: It was twelve years ago that Jordan last professional game. And yet he continues to play a role. In the NBA today he is involved as the owner of the moderately successful Charlotte Hornets. And it is visually present everywhere: Jordan's silhouette is emblazoned on clothes and sneakers from Nike. For the latter in particular, customers even camp in front of shops. And that although some of the sneakers would pass as slippers for astronauts: chunky, brightly colored, softly sprung.

Of course, one can argue about taste. It is undisputed that Nike is enormously successful, also through the "Air Jordan" products. Most recently, the quarterly result rose by 23 percent. Nike distributes Jordan products with a sophisticated marketing strategy. In addition to the classic Air Jordan, which is now in its 29th generation, there are a number of limited special series, including new editions and retro versions. Particularly rare models sometimes fetch astronomical prices at auctions.

Other suppliers didn't want Jordan

The partnership between Jordan and Nike was more of a lucky coincidence for everyone involved than a logical consequence. "I never liked the shoes," he once wrote in his biography. "I never wanted to sign with Nike." But the company's plan to revolutionize the market convinced him. Part of the truth is that other outfitters didn't want Jordan. According to a report by Wall Street Journal Adidas canceled him in 1984. The management was of the opinion that Jordan did not fit into the profile, was too small for a basketball player. You should have regretted the decision.

Sports marketing expert Gerd Nufer believes that Jordan products will continue to sell well. After all, something unique would have been achieved with the Jordan Brand. The famous Nike logo, the Swoosh, no longer appears on the products. The company could do without it because the customers already knew about the connection with the athlete. That, says Nufer, "is the supreme discipline"