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Outside of being one of the greatest to grace the hardwood, Michael Jordan's sustained popularity can be credited to the brands he continues to endorse. Through his likability, Jordan helped turn companies like Nike and Gatorade into household names. But, despite his reputation, Jordan has revealed that he wasn't willing to sell his soul just to make a deal. Especially if that meant saying "Beanee Weenee."
On Wednesday, a vintage interview resurfaced where Playboy's Mark Vancil asked the then-bubbling G.O.A.T. about the brands he endorses as well as the offers he rejected.
"Two or three years ago Quaker Oats came to me to endorse Van Kamp's pork and beans — Beanee Weenees, I think it was called," Jordan said. "You ever heard of Beanee Weenees pork and beans? It was close to a million bucks a year. I'm saying, Beanee Weenees? How can I stand in front of a camera and say I'll eat Beanee Weenees?"
When the 1992 interview was conducted, Jordan was far from the multi-billionaire NBA team owner that he is today. Instead, he was a proven superstar en route to delivering the infamous "shrug" and winning his second ring. Three years prior (when this offer was made), MJ was still coming into his own as an elite player. Although Jordan wasn't hurting for cash, getting another million a year for saying "Beanee Weenees" is something any 26-year-old would agree to do. But, as his on-court dominance proved, everyone's not Mike.
In the piece, he claimed that anything he promotes has to be an authentic representation of himself. Which is why the then-thinning MJ decided against boosting "Beanee Weenees" as well as pulling out of his contract with a hair-care product.
"If I wanted to be a hardnosed businessman, I could have been in a lot of deals, like the one with Johnson Products," Jordan explained. "I had a deal with them for their hair-care products. I had two or three more years on that deal when I started losing my hair. So I forfeited the deal. But if I had wanted to be greedy, I could’ve said, Screw you, you didn’t know my hair was falling out so you owe me money. But I didn’t."
These comments go against certain opinions of Michael Jordan. During his transition from NBA star to successful businessman, it became common to hear critics claim MJ put his products over his core beliefs. The most referenced example of this is the rumor that Jordan once said: "Republicans buy sneakers, too." However, in 2016 Slate debunked this myth stating that source told them MJ never said such a thing. This combined with his gaudy net worth gives aspiring entrepreneurs hope that they too can be successful while remaining true to themselves.