Michael Jordan's Greatness on the Court Comes Second to Success With Sneakers

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Michael Jordan's success on the basketball court comes second to no one. Six trips to the NBA finals and six victories, universally recognized as the best NBA player to ever grace a floor. However, the Jordan Brand had most of its financial success in sneakers. SI's legal analyst Michael McCann tells Robin Lundberg why the Jordan Brand has been untouchable for so long and why other brands can't seem to recreate its magic. 

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Robin Lundberg: Michael Jordan might not only have been the Michael Jordan of basketball, but the Michael Jordan of the sneaker game as well. For more, I'm joined by our legal analyst, Michael McCann. Now, Michael, could it be argued that m.j.'s influence was even greater with kicks than it was on the court?

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Michael McCann: Money wise, there's no question about it, Robin. He earned on the court. Ninety-three million dollars, obviously a ton of money off the court. He reportedly earned about 1.7 billion with a B. What a difference that is. And of course, there's the Jordan effect. The idea that everything involved with Jordan amplifies and value, that's could be TV ratings for NBA games. That could be audiences for films and other products that he is. He's played such an instrumental role. Other sneaker companies have tried to recapture that. But, you know, even in sports, we love analytics. We love formulas. There's no formula that will lead to another Michael Jordan.

The 2014 All-Star Game version of Carmelo Anthony's "Melo M10" sneakers. (Jordan)
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Robin Lundberg: Yeah. I mean, that's the thing, right? You have to have the product to sell in order for it to sell. Not not to say Michael Jordan is a product. But of course, he was a brand.

Michael McCann: Yeah. That's right. And there was a confluence of things going on when Jordan and Nike got together, there was Nike's desire to really build around him. That's something that Sonny Vaccaro, who signed Michael Jordan to his contract with Nike, talks about that. You can't have that with another player because it was so unique to Nike. And it was a gamble that obviously paid off so much for Nike and for Jordan.

Robin Lundberg: Michael, appreciate your time and analysis, as always.

Michael McCann: Thanks Robin. 

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