As USA Today continues its coverage of Phil Knight's historic run as the chairman of Nike, we're learning more about about the biggest brand in sneakers. According to former marketing exec Sonny Vaccaro, who was profiled extensively in an ESPN 30 for 30 series earlier this year, Michael Jordan was actually a lot closer to leaving Nike than any of us thought.
Amongst sneakerheads, it's common knowledge that the Tinker Hatfield-helmed Air Jordan III was the catalyst for Jordan's decision to stay with Nike. However, what we didn't know was that the 1988 departure of execs Peter Moore and the late Rob Strasser — who both Jordan and Knight cite as key players in Jordan's original decision to sign with Nike — almost caused Jordan to follow in their footsteps and sign with adidas.
According to Vaccaro, he and Michael attended a meeting with adidas around 1988 regarding the possibility of Jordan jumping ship. "Michael's more important to me than Nike because I always felt that I brought Michael there," Vaccaro said, admitting that it was a rather awkward situation.
We all know how it ended up playing out from there, but it's interesting to ponder what would have been a truly game changing shift in the sneaker industry. For the complete article, which features further insight from Knight, Vaccaro, Moore, George Raveling, and Jordan himself, head over to USA Today here.