Jordan Brand makes history by partnering with 11 emerging WNBA players,

Jordan Brand makes history by partnering with 11 emerging WNBA players,

 

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Last summer, during an unprecedented sports season that left many stadiums empty during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, public interest in WNBA (the women’s national basketball league) appeared to be on the rise. Ratings for the WNBA finals were up 15% during a year when sports viewership tanked across the board, according to Sports Media Watch.
Kia Nurse, Michael Jordan, Dearica Hamby posing for a photo
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© Ming Smith/Jordan Brand
Now, during the 25th anniversary of the WNBA, Nike’s Jordan Brand has released a new creative project seeking to give even more visibility to the game and the women who play it.

Photographed by Ming Smith — the first Black female photographer to have her work acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York — and styled by i-D magazine’s global fashion director Carlos Nazario, the black-and-white images feature nine WNBA players (including two-time WNBA Champion Jordin Canada, All-Star Kia Nurse, and 2019 Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield) and former NBA superstar Michael Jordan, all dressed in formal attire.

It’s a rare recent campaign for Jordan, as well as for WNBA players who continue to earn less than their male counterparts (this includes brand sponsorships). It also comes off the heels of the news that Seattle Storm player Breanna Stewart has become the first WNBA player in a decade to ink a deal for her own signature shoe, through a partnership with Puma, according to NPR.

“We’ve seen our entire culture shift these past few years and we are entering a new era for the game,” said Jordan Brand president Craig Williams over email. “We wanted to capture this powerful moment in time to champion our WNBA family who share our commitment to putting our community first.”

Last summer, a number of WNBA players used their platform for activism. In July, Atlanta Dream players publicly declared their support for Black Lives Matter, and the entire WNBA season was dedicated to Breonna Taylor and the “Say Her Name” campaign. Then, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha, Wisconsin, police in August 2020, the Washington Mystics filed onto the court wearing white t-shirts emblazoned with his name, as well as bullet markings.

At the same time, Jordan Brand and Jordan announced a $100-million-dollar pledge to the Black community and will continue to invest into initiatives for Black girls and BIPOC artists, which will be unveiled at a later date.

“The world needs female voices, and we can’t ignore that or else we’re not growing,” Jordan said in a press statement, signaling his intent to “giv(e) women a platform to amplify their voices, which influence, inspire and push culture forward.”

‘On the verge’ of the mainstream

Jordan’s partnership with Nike in 1984 introduced the first Air Jordan sneaker to the world and became an athletics brand worth billions. Currently, the Jordan Brand family has more than 20 NBA members on its roster, and has included Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler and LaMarcus Aldridge. In 2011, Maya Moore became the first WNBA player to sign with the brand, and 10 more have followed, including three players announced this week: Chelsea Dungee, Arella Guirantes and Aerial Powers.

With more games broadcast last summer than ever, WNBA is “right on the verge of just mainstream huge popularity,” former WNBA All-Star Rebecca Lobo told CNN in May.

Still, pay lags in the women’s game. This year, the WNBA reached a collective bargaining agreement that would bump up the average compensation to just under 130,000. In stark comparison, NBA rookies take home just under $900,000 during a season, with the average player making nearly 7.5 million.

“We’re ultimately playing the same game that men do,” Canada said in a press statement. “We play it the right way, we’re very exciting to watch, and I think we’re starting to get people to change their perspective on women’s basketball. We’re not where we want to be quite yet when it comes to getting the respect we deserve, but we’re taking steps in the right direction and continuing to grow the game.”

Nurse echoed those same sentiments, discussing the legacy she wants to leave behind through her career.

“We have a responsibility to make the WNBA and basketball as a whole a little bit better for the next generation of female athletes,” she said in a press statement. “Because that’s what the people did before us, so that we could come in and have what we have.”

Update: After publication of this story, Jordan Brand released a revised statement regarding the details of its investment into initiatives for Black girls and BIPOC artists. The article has been updated to reflect the new statement.

The Jordan photographs will be on view at Nicola Vassell Gallery in New York from June 29 to July 2 in the pop-up show “Here for a Reason.”

‘We don’t take this for granted’: The Black women reppin’ the Jordan Brand in the WNBA

A roundtable discussion with the members of the largest collective of Jumpman endorsees in the history of women’s basketball

In late May, a first look at the latest Air Jordan silhouette surfaced on social media.

But it didn’t come from the Jordan Brand’s official @Jumpman23 handle, or even one of the brand’s NBA athletes in the playoffs. While in Germany, preparing to compete in a FIBA 3×3 Olympic-qualifying tournament, 23-year-old women’s basketball star Satou Sabally received a box featuring the Air Jordan 36 and didn’t hesitate to show off the new sneaker on Instagram and Twitter: 

“Sorry @Jumpman23, I’m terrible at keeping secrets … I’m just too excited to hold this in,” captioned Sabally, the half-German, half-Gambian small forward, who signed an endorsement deal with the Jordan Brand in April ahead of her second season with the WNBA’s Dallas Wings.

That’s right: A woman unveiled the next model of Michael Jordan’s storied line of sneakers. But Sabally isn’t the only one representing the brand in the WNBA. Now in its 25th season, the league has more players rocking the Jumpman logo on their feet than ever. It’s just been a long time coming. 

In September 1997 (six months before Sabally was born), when Nike officially launched the Jordan Brand as a subdivision of the global footwear company, Michael Jordan handpicked an exclusive group of young, up-and-coming NBA players to form “Team Jordan.”

Five men made the Jumpman roster — Ray Allen, Derek Anderson, Michael Finley, Eddie Jones and Vin Baker — as the Chicago Bulls embarked upon their “Last Dance” season and Jordan began to transition from hooper to businessman. By 1998, the Jordan Brand expanded even further in basketball, releasing its first women’s sneaker, designed by Nike’s first African American footwear designer, Wilson Smith III, and dubbed the Women’s Air Jordan. But it wasn’t until 2011 that the brand found its face of women’s basketball, when Maya Moore became the first woman to sign an endorsement deal with the Jordan Brand. She repped the Jumpman on the court while hoisting four WNBA titles before stepping away from basketball in 2019 to focus on off-the-court initiatives, from ministry to criminal justice reform.

A decade later and Moore, who’s sitting out for a third season, is no longer the lone Jumpwoman. In 2019, the brand began adding to its women’s roster, with the signings of New York Liberty guards Kia Nurse and Asia Durr. And now, there’s a collective of 11 WNBA players endorsing the brand:

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Arella Guirantes (left) of the Los Angeles Sparks looks to pass against Jackie Young (right) of the Las Vegas Aces during their game on May 21 at Michelob ULTRA Arena.

Moore, Nurse (now with the Phoenix Mercury), Durr (who’s sitting out for the second-straight season due to COVID-19 complications), Jordin Canada of the Seattle Storm, Dearica Hamby of the Las Vegas Aces, Te’a Cooper and Arella Guirantes of the Los Angeles Sparks, Crystal Dangerfield and Aerial Powers of the Minnesota Lynx, and Chelsea Dungee and Sabally of the Dallas Wings.

Even retired WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes — who, in 1995, became the first woman in sports history to receive her own signature sneaker, the Nike Air Swoopes — has taken notice.

“The Jordan Brand has signed more WNBA players than any other year,” Swoopes, who now works for Nike Basketball, told The Undefeated. “I think what that says is, even Jordan sees something different and something special in female athletes and the women in the W, that they don’t want to be left behind.”

The WNBA finally has a Team Jordan, the brand officially announced Monday as part of its “WNBA Family” campaign. And it’s a pretty accomplished group at that. There’s the O.G. who’s already cemented as one of the greatest — if not, the greatest — of all time; two rookies, including a top-5 draft pick and a member of the Puerto Rican women’s national team; the WNBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year and its two-time reigning Sixth Woman of the Year; seven combined WNBA championships and seven combined All-Star appearances, while every player, except Moore, is under the age of 28.

But maybe most importantly, all 11 of the Jordan Brand’s WNBA athletes are Black women.

“I think these incredible athletes are defining a lot of things about Jordan Brand and are leading real conversations that are impacting culture and our communities across the globe,” said Michael Jordan in a statement. “The world needs female voices, and we can’t ignore that or else we’re not growing. The Jordan Brand is committed to giving women a platform to amplify their voices, which influence, inspire and push culture forward.” 

At the start of the 2021 WNBA season, The Undefeated’s Aaron Dodson caught up with several members of Jordan’s revamped women’s basketball roster, via Zoom after a brand photo shoot with MJ himself, for a roundtable discussion on joining the Jumpman, Moore’s legacy, representation and more.

(It’s also worth noting that the powerful image of MJ surrounded by the Jordan Brand’s WNBA athletes was captured by Ming Smith, the first African American female photographer to have her work acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.)


How exactly did the opportunity arise to join the Jordan Brand? And what does it mean to you to rep the Jumpman in the WNBA?

Crystal Dangerfield (guard, Minnesota Lynx): I heard a little something during the 2020 season. Then I didn’t hear anything else, so I was like, ‘I don’t know if this is really gonna happen or not.’ But a little over a week after going home from the bubble, I had a Zoom meeting with the brand, and they were like, ‘We want you.’ And everything that they presented to me, I felt like, ‘This is a match made in heaven.’ … It was an easy choice, really … The fact that this is my first endorsement deal … left me speechless. I’m still trying to internalize it all. If you had told me a year ago that this would be possible, I would’ve laughed in your face. Because when you hear Jordan Brand, you think elite. 

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Jordin Canada of the Seattle Storm handles the ball during a game against the Dallas Wings on May 22 at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.

Jordin Canada (guard, Seattle Storm): I was in the bubble last summer. Toward the end of the regular season, going into the playoffs, my agent called me and was like, ‘Hey, I have an opportunity for you if you’re up for it. I think it’s great.’ She left a voicemail and didn’t tell me what it was exactly. I called her back and  she says, ‘Well … the Jordan Brand really wants to take over your Nike contract.’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Without a doubt, without hesitation. In college at UCLA, I used to say how I wanted to be a part of the Jordan Brand when I graduated. I didn’t get the opportunity but fortunately I got signed to Nike. So when they approached me with this opportunity, I immediately said yes and have loved it ever since I joined. I actually got to wear some of the sneakers in the bubble during the playoffs, even though it wasn’t official. But since I’ve officially become a Jordan Brand athlete, it’s been amazing. I’m glad I made the switch.

Te’a Cooper (guard, Los Angeles Sparks): When you get that call like, ‘Jordan wants you to be a part of the brand.’ Then you get invited to a Zoom call, then you’re getting gear … It’s like, ‘Whatttt? You picked ME? No way!’ I was amazed that Michael Jordan knew about me, knew my name and wanted me to be a part of his brand. I was really shocked. I felt real special. 

Dearica Hamby (forward, Las Vegas Aces): Initially, when my agent came to me, I kinda thought I was gonna be telling Jordan why they should sign me. A few years prior, I had been on my agent like, ‘Let’s do Jordan Brand. Let’s do Jordan Brand.’ But at the time, they weren’t really signing many women. We kinda just kept it in our back pocket. Then, after the bubble season, my agent was like, ‘You’re gonna have a meeting with Jordan.’ I thought I was going into the meeting like, ‘Hey, I’m Dearica …, ’ and I go into the Zoom call, there’s a presentation that says, ‘We want you to be a part of Jumpman.’ I was like, ‘Say less!’ Because coming out of college, I told my agent I only wanted to be with Jordan. So, to see this come to fruition, it’s a blessing. I’m thankful. Because I’ve just been myself and it’s worked. 

Aerial Powers (guard/forward, Minnesota Lynx): I’ve worn No. 23 most of my career, because I’ve been watching Jordan all my life. The first sports DVD my dad gave me was a Michael Jordan DVD. So the fact that I’m a part of the brand now is just crazy. So surreal.  

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Guard Te’a Cooper of the Los Angeles Sparks handles the ball during a game against the Dallas Wings on May 14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Arella Guirantes (guard, Los Angeles Sparks): It’s special to be a part of the Jordan family because Jordan just brings a level of confidence. When you have that Jumpman logo on, you’re representing greatness.

Kia Nurse (guard, Phoenix Mercury): I’m really grateful to be a part of a brand that’s encouraging the next generation and growing the future of women’s basketball and women’s basketball culture.

Before joining the brand, how much experience did you have hooping in Jordans?

Dangerfield: None really. I think I had one pair and they weren’t even performance shoes. I wanted some so bad. But they never came my way until, I think, my senior year of high school.

Canada: In high school, my senior year, we were sponsored by the Jordan Brand. This was back in 2014, so I got to rock some Chris Pauls … That was the only experience that I had until now … I was kind of mad because now UCLA is sponsored by Jordan. When I was in college, we were sponsored by Adidas and Under Armour, so I didn’t get that opportunity. But I’m very happy for UCLA and now I get to rock everything that they get.

Hamby: My rookie year, I hooped in some 11 lows. I wanna say Concords. And I twisted my ankle in them. But I played in them for a bit. Other than that, I’ve stuck to Nikes, like LeBrons and Kyries … Growing up, my mom definitely didn’t lace me up with Nikes or Jordans. 

Powers: My dad bought me my first pair of Jordans. I forget how old I was but I was young. They were white with red trim. In college, I wore Nike. So now I’m with Jordan, I’m tryna find my fit. The shoes run a little different for me. I like some of [Russell Westbrook’s signature sneakers] the Why Nots. But I think the 35s are gonna be my thing.

In the past few years, player exclusive (PE) sneakers have become a key form of expression on the court for Jordan Brand athletes. What’s one story you’d like to tell through your PEs during the 2021 WNBA season?

Cooper: The brand asked me that and I had to pick something special that I wanted on a shoe. I wanted it to be loud but simple. Like, ‘You see me!’ but not too much going on like a Christmas sweater. I just wanted a bright-colored shoe with my No. 2 on it, because that number is special to me. 

Powers: I haven’t done PEs in the past few years I’ve been in the league. I usually just wear one shoe. But before I even signed, I wanted to switch it up. Now, I got the drip to really switch it up. So you’ll see me expressing myself through shoes this year, for sure. 

Dangerfield: I already have one in the works but I’m not telling what it is yet! It’s about my childhood and surrounds a sacrifice. That’s the most I’ll say. 

Canada: I’m really into style — that’s the most important story I want to tell. I love fashion off the court, which I wanted to bring on the court through different colorways. 

Hamby: The first one is gonna be dedicated to my family — my mom, my sisters and my daughter, Amaya. And after that, Amaya will probably create a lot of them … I’m really into bright colors and I think I’ll be able to get away with it because our colors [on the Las Vegas Aces] are simple so there won’t be a ton of clashing. They’re definitely gonna be vibrant and loud like my personality. The colors in the PEs will speak to who I am as a person.

Exactly a decade ago, in 2011, Maya Moore became the first women’s basketball player to sign with the Jordan Brand. What do you think is Maya’s legacy when it comes to the Jordan Brand and sneakers?

Dangerfield: In my head, growing up, she was the equivalent to Jordan. Maya is the female GOAT. For her to sign with him back then, it felt like they were equals, to me. Maya is who I still regard as the face of the women’s side of Jordan. 

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Aerial Powers of the Minnesota Lynx arrives to a game against the Seattle Storm on May 20 at the Target Center.

Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Hamby: She was the first. They gave her a deal and what she’s done for women’s basketball since then has been incredible. It sucks that she’s not out here right now, but she’s the reason that we’re here. She was at the forefront of all this and set the pace, set the wave. We appreciate her … I do. 

Canada: A trendsetter. A game-changer. … Maya changed the game tremendously and created opportunities for me and the other women who are now a part of the Jordan Brand to experience this. 

Cooper: Mannn, she the Jump Girl! … In 2015, they had the first Jordan Brand Classic with women and I was invited. Maya was there. She took us to this shoe store with Melo [Carmelo Anthony] in New York. We practiced at this facility that was real cool. It had all the Jordans in there. Maya made the Jordan Brand feel like it was the function.

Powers: She was my favorite player growing up. I remember she went to Paris with the brand and I was watching videos of her on YouTube. It was just so cool to see her in Jordans. She was like the female Michael Jordan. People pave the way, right? There have been WNBA players who’ve paved the way for me in basketball, like Maya Moore. And she did it in another way, signing with the Jordan Brand. And, now, us girls doing it now are paving the way for others. What the Jordan Brand is doing is very empowering.

There are now 11 players reppin’ the Jordan Brand — the most ever in the history of the WNBA. What does it mean to you to be a part of this exclusive club?

Cooper: You see athletes sign with sneaker brands all the time now, but this is the most prestigious thing you could think of. It’s literally Michael … Jordan. He handpicked us. It’s not like any other brand where it’s like 25-30 athletes.

Dangerfield: It’s special. A select few out of over 140 players … I know we don’t take this for granted. We’re very thankful for it. We’re blessed to be here. 

Hamby: It feels like Jordan took on players that other brands wouldn’t necessarily take. We aren’t the MVPs of our teams or the biggest names. But we all bring something different to the table. We’re a diverse group of women and I think that’s what the Jordan Brand speaks to.

Guirantes: What I like about our WNBA Jordan family is that we are all different and have our own special and unique gifts both on and off the court. We have a lot of different personalities … we’re not just basketball players or a certain type of basketball player. I admire all of my fellow Jordan teammates who are letting people know it’s OK to be yourself.

Nurse: This is a strong group of women. It goes beyond basketball. Just being happy to be confident in who we are and what we wear — hopefully that translates to the next generation … I think everybody who looks at our group of Jordan Brand WNBA athletes will be able to resonate with one or two of us and find different ways where they can feel like, ‘She represents the brand the way that I want to wear it.’

Canada: Being a part of this group, it’s an honor. This is the next generation. But, hopefully in the future, there’s more to come … more athletes reppin’ brands in the women’s game. This is a testament to how our game is growing. And to be a part of this initial forward movement is great. 

How special is it that all of you are Black women? 

Hamby: I was talking to one of our reps and was like, ‘Is everyone a part of the Jordan Brand like … Black?’ She was like, ‘There’s a few baseball players and golfers that aren’t but for women, yeah.’ It shouldn’t have taken this long — and I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying this — but our league, on the Nike side, has done things a certain way and now we appreciate that the Jordan Brand is looking out.

Powers: Am I proud? Of course. I’m a proud Black woman. We’re all proud Black women. And we’ll all continue to push the envelope. 

Dungee:  I think that the Black community being able to see people representing in a big light … that’s the amazing thing about this brand, the WNBA and sitting on this platform …  You give a voice to the ones that feel like they don’t have a voice.

Canada: I think it’s extremely important. Because representation matters, especially nowadays with what’s going on in the world. For Black women to have this opportunity and be at the forefront of a brand like this is extremely important to show young Black women athletes that they can have the same opportunities. I didn’t see this growing up, when I was little. I didn’t see Black women in the limelight having opportunities to be a part of a huge brand, besides Sheryl Swoopes.

Cooper: It’s crazy because we’re really making history. We’re really starting something. It’s huge for women to have shoe deals, period. But to be the first time there’s this many people with the Jordan Brand in women’s basketball, that’s huge. How much love he’s showing us is unbelievable.

Portrait of a Powerful Family

On the 25th anniversary of the first WNBA game, Jordan Brand celebrates its largest female roster ever and sets the tone for a stronger, more inclusive future.

How do you define family? One way to look at it is as a group of diverse individuals bound by love. That definition holds for the recent addition of eight WNBA players to Jordan Brand, and demonstrates Michael Jordan’s desire to form an expansive and inclusive family. “The world needs female voices, and we can’t ignore that or else we’re not growing,” he says. “The Jordan Brand is committed to giving women a platform to amplify their voices, which influence, inspire and push culture forward.”

That commitment was apparent in April 2021 when Jordan was photographed alongside the Brand’s active WNBA athletes: Jordin Canada, Te’a Cooper, Crystal Dangerfield, Chelsea Dungee, Arella Guirantes, Dearica Hamby, Kia Nurse, Aerial Powers and Satou Sabally. The gathering celebrated the Brand’s largest female roster ever, an investment in the game’s emerging stars that reveals an intention to shape the future of basketball culture. “These amazing athletes are defining a lot of things about Jordan Brand and leading a true conversation that’s impacting culture and our communities across the globe,” Jordan says.

“To have 11 Black women be a part of this brand allows the younger generation and younger women to see that they can be like us — they can have that opportunity. I didn’t see that growing up.”

Jordin Canada, Seattle Storm point guard

The simultaneous elegance and strength of the images and their subjects suggests a turning point for women in society and in sports — specifically signaling a bright future for the women’s game and the next generation. “Representation really matters at this point in time,” says Seattle Storm star Jordin Canada. “To have eleven black women be a part of this brand allows the younger generation and younger women to see that they can be like us — they can have that opportunity. I didn’t see that growing up.”

This blurring of on- and off-court activism has defined Jordan Brand since its inception. A shared love for the game and everything basketball culture represents serves as a unifying platform for fans and athletes drawn to Jordan’s larger-than-life legacy and the Brand’s increasing commitment to creating impact by influencing society and championing Black community initiatives. The new members of the Jordan Brand family embody this ethos, activating their professional platforms to campaign for social justice — whether through the WNBA’s dedication of its 2020 season to the #SayHerName movement; the #WeGotUsChallenge, an initiative to support Black-owned businesses; or their own personal engagement. As Minnesota Lynx standout Crystal Dangerfield explains, “We don’t just stick to our sport. We’re vocal in the league, as a whole, and we’re going to bring it to the community — to leave things better than we found them.”

“We don’t just stick to our sport. We’re vocal in the league, as a whole, and we’re going to bring it to the community — to leave things better than we found them.”

Crystal Dangerfield, Minnesota Lynx point guard

This dedication to building a powerful family legacy is precisely what drew the women to Jordan Brand. “As a member of the Jordan Brand family, you don’t just get to be a legend on the court,” Dallas Wings rookie Chelsea Dungee says, “you have to be a legend off the court.”

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan in 2014.jpg
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Jordan in April 2014
Charlotte Hornets
Position Owner
League NBA
Personal information
Born February 17, 1963 (age 58)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 216 lb (98 kg)[a]
Career information
High school Emsley A. Laney
(Wilmington, North Carolina)
College North Carolina (1981–1984)
NBA draft 1984 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Playing career 1984–1993, 1995–1998, 2001–2003
Position Shooting guard
Number 23, 12,[b] 45
Career history
19841993,
19951998
Chicago Bulls
20012003 Washington Wizards
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 32,292 (30.1 ppg)
Rebounds 6,672 (6.2 rpg)
Assists 5,633 (5.3 apg)
Stats 
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at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
FIBA Hall of Fame as player
Medals
Men’s basketball
Representing the
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United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place
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1984 Los Angeles Men’s basketball
Gold medal – first place
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1992 Barcelona Men’s basketball
Tournament of the Americas
Gold medal – first place
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1992 Portland Men’s basketball
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place
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1983 Caracas Men’s basketball

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Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials MJ, is an American businessman and former professional basketball player. He is the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and of 23XI Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. He played 15 seasons in the NBA, winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls. His biography on the official NBA website states: “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.”[5] He was integral in helping to popularize the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s,[10] becoming a global cultural icon in the process.[11]

Jordan played college basketball for three seasons under coach Dean Smith with the North Carolina Tar Heels. As a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels’ national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick, and quickly emerged as a league star, entertaining crowds with his prolific scoring while gaining a reputation as one of the game’s best defensive players.[12] His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames “Air Jordan” and “His Airness”. Jordan won his first NBA championship with the Bulls in 1991, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a “three-peat“. Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the 1993–94 NBA season to play Minor League Baseball but returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three more championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998 as well as a then-record 72 regular season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. He retired for a second time in January 1999 but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Washington Wizards.

Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten scoring titles (both all-time records), five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors (joint record), fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the 20th century’s greatest North American athlete by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press‘ list of athletes of the century. Jordan was twice inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, once in 2009 for his individual career and again in 2010 as part of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“The Dream Team”). He became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015.

One of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation, Jordan is also known for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike‘s Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1984 and remain popular today.[13] Jordan also starred as himself in the 1996 live-action animated film Space Jam, and is the central focus of the Emmy Award-winning documentary miniseries The Last Dance (2020). He became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats (now named the Hornets) in 2006, and bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2014, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history. With a net worth of $2.1 billion, he is the fourth-richest African American, behind Robert F. Smith, David Steward, and Oprah Winfrey.

Air Jordan

Air Jordan
Jumpman logo.svg
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The silhouette of Michael Jordan served as inspiration to create the “Jumpman” logo.
Product type Footwear, clothing
Owner Nike, Inc.
Country United States
Introduced November 17, 1984; 36 years ago[a]
Markets Worldwide
Website Air Jordan

Air Jordan is an American brand of basketball shoes, athletic, casual, and style clothing produced by Nike. Founded in Chicago, Air Jordan was created for Hall of Fame basketball player and six-time NBA Finals MVP Michael Jordan during his time with the Chicago Bulls.[2][3] The original Air Jordan sneakers were produced exclusively for Michael Jordan in late 1984, and released to the public on April 1, 1985.  The shoes were designed for Nike by Peter Moore, Tinker Hatfield, and Bruce Kilgore.

 

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