Who owns the Jordan brand?- Full History

Who owns the Jordan brand?

The first thing that comes to mind when one hears the name ‘Jordan’ is the Jumpman logo on athleisure. The brand was named after one of the most popular and respected basketball players of all time Micheal Jeffrey Jordan. The first-ever Air Jordans were exclusively created for Micheal Jordan in 1984  and then released into the public in 1985. Here, we’ll know Who owns the Jordan brand?

A handful of people still think Micheal Jordan is the owner of the brand. But that is not the truth the brand Jordan is owned by Nike, Inc. and Craig Williams is the president of the brand. however, Micheal still gets a proportion of every dollar being paid to Nike for the Jordan line manufacturing and products. 

All about Jordans

For years Jordans have been the backbone of sneaker culture and the brand’s appealing logo is what put everyone in awe. Jordan’s Jumpman logo is one of the most revered and celebrated logos in the footwear industry whose origins go way back. 

In 1984 Micheal Jordan was photographed pulling off the iconic Jumpman pose for a life magazine photoshoot ahead of the Olympic games in Los Angeles but the funny thing is that Nike wasn’t even part of the story at this point. Micheal pulled the first-ever Jumpman pose off in New Balance basketball shoes.

Soon after that, he signed off his contract with Nike, and by 1985 the first-ever signature Air Jordans hit the shelves. And that same year Jordan recreated his iconic pose but this time in his smashing pair of Air Jordan 1 black toes.

The original Air Jordan one tank tag was featured with the photo, the rumor has it that the designer of the shoes Peter Moore wanted to use the original shot from the magazine photoshoot but couldn’t because of copyright issues. The magazine photographer Jacobus Willem Rentmeester also tried to sue Nike in 2015 claiming the brand has used his idea only for the judge to dismiss the case.

It might come by as a surprise when we say the logo we are used to now was not even featured on the Air Jordans 1 or 2. They were launched with the wings logo which is still in use to this day on the retro editions of the sneakers. The logo features the word Air Jordan in a wavy tag on top of a basketball that has wings on either side. The wings were to represent the incredible hangtime of Micheal Jordan. 

In 1987 the legendary designer Tinker Hatfield designed the Air Jordan 3 which is still regarded by many as one of the silhouettes ever. It was the very first Air Jordan to utilize the now-iconic elephant print and also one of the first sneakers to showcase Nike’s visible air unit. And of course, we were introduced to the Jumpman logo as we know it today.

The logo was placed on the tongue of the shoe which was just a perfectly designed silhouette of the perfectly timed photo of Micheal Jordan.

Since the original version, the Jumpman has remained unchanged, and as the brand grew the logo started to appear on lifestyle apparel as well as sporting goods. For a brief amount of time, Nike added Jordan spelled out under the Jumpman logo but soon removed it as the logo itself was quite distinguishable. Till today even after the retirement of Micheal Jordan the Air Jordans are still as popular as ever.

How did Micheal Jordan end up signing for Nike?

The University of North California at Chapel Hill was coached by Dean Smith who is a hall of fame person and a hall of fame coach. He also had a contract with Converse at that time which paid him 10,000 US dollars to get one or two of his teams to wear converse at the games. 

When Micheal Jordan graduated and came into the NBA he always wanted to be sponsored by Adidas and his Idea of a basketball shoe was Adidas. However, the company Adidas was less competent or consistent because of the downfall of the legendary company they were not able to sponsor Jordan.

Although Jordan was disappointed he did go through the contracts of a couple of other companies like converse and Sport Built. And he still couldn’t see himself signing the contracts. Left with too few options Jordan’s agent Falk took the opportunity to call Nike and talk to Rob Stasser about Basketball shoes and informed Jordan about the meeting with Nike. but Jordan was adamant about getting sponsored by Adidas. 

Nevertheless, he went to the Nike meet-up with Rob Stasser and the designer Peter Moore and sat back to see their presentation. The presentation included everything he will have in the sponsorship. But that’s when he said he likes Adidas more because of the low cut of the shoe rather than the high cut ones Nike makes.

Unlike the typical sponsors, Nike was very willing to make shoes that made him feel comfortable which was what caught Jordan’s attention. He felt like they were being inclusive of him in the process. But still, Jordan did not say yes, at least not yet. 

He left with an offer of 500,000 US dollars per year for five years with him being the center marketer of his brand. The part that stood out the post in the contract was him being offered the stocks with a contract worth 7 million dollars on the table.

The contract was quite the one that was unheard of at those times. Nothing could say we wanted you more to be a part of our company. But they had their conditions for him in the game to keep the contract till the end or they can retrieve it anytime they like. 

Jordan being Jordan still went to Adidas one last time with the Nike deal and said if they offered anything close he would still sign away with them. Unfortunately, Adidas still couldn’t do it which thankfully led to Micheal Jordan signing for Nike.

What happened at the game?

When Jordan wore the signature red, black, and white Air Jordans at the game the commissioner of the NBA David Stern said that all the shoes of the players should match along with their uniform even tho they matched their uniform perfectly. The so-called rules were followed which ended up with Jordan paying a 5000 Dollar fine and the league sending out a letter to Nike saying the shoes were prohibited.

Nike being the marketing masterminds they were created an advertisement saying “ we created a revolutionary shoe that the NBA threw out but fortunately the NBA can’t keep you from wearing them”. And then everyone wanted to own a pair of Jordans which has started the raise of Jordans which is still consistent as ever.


To sum up, everything written in the article no, Micheal Jordan doesn’t own the Brand Jordan. Nike owns the brand manufacturers out of which Micheal Jordan is paid a proportion. Since the very first launch of Jordan’s to the public in 1985, a lot has changed and the brand has managed to remain consistent throughout the years. Many luxury brands have collaborated with Jordans releasing limited editions and new editions whose prices range from benign affordable by mostly anyone to can be owned by only some.

Frequently asked questions

  • Does Michael Jordan own the brand Jordan?

No, Michael Jordan doesn’t own Jordans Nike, Inc. does, and it’s a very common misconception as the brand was named after the NBA player. Nike is responsible for designing, producing, and selling the brand’s products It was named after him because he was sponsored by Nike for his shoes and was the marketer of the brand. however, he still gets paid a certain proportion of every sale that happens in the line. It became so huge that Nike started to market it on its own.

  • What did Nike offer Michael Jordan? 

Nike offered Michael Jordan a five-year contract of 500,000 US dollars per year with a proportion of their sales which was something Adidas was not ready to do at the time. It has been more than 13 years since Jordan retired and it’s no wonder that he still earns more than every NBA player at the moment when it comes to sneaker income. As of Forbes report, he earned 130 million US dollars in the year 2019 alone.

  • What is the Jordan logo called?

The logo on the jordans is called the “Jumpman” logo which is a simple silhouette of Micheal jordans iconic pose from a photo shoot he did for life magazine in 1984. Which was later outlined and designed to be one of the most known logos of all time by Peter Moore in 1988 replacing the wings logo on the Air Jordans 1 and 2.

  • Is Michael Jordan still playing basketball?

No, Micheal Jordan is no longer playing basketball he first retired in the year 1993 and then in 1998 again but he hung up his jersey for sure in the year 2003. After playing for more than 19 years he and retiring Jordan is considered to be one of the best players that NBA has ever had.

Who owns the Jordan brand?- Full History

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