It was a long time coming, to be honest. David Falk had envisioned a Jordan brand when he first negotiated with Nike, and the first year's sale numbers showed it was a viable proposition. But things generally don't work that fast, and by 1997, Michael Jordan had already retired and come back once, and Nike had already started retroing his older product. An all-new silver box with the Jumpman on top was all the announcement they needed.
Jordan Brand Officially Splits from Nike