Michael Jordan’s First Deals & Commercials
The best day in Chicago Bulls history happened 31 years ago today when they signed their #3 draft pick from the 1983 draft to a deal of the century contract that paid Jordan less than a million dollars a year for his first couple of years of services. Not bad considering the Bulls attendance doubled by the end of Jordan’s rookie of the year season and not bad considering they didn’t even want to draft him.
After his 5th season, the Bulls re-signed MJ to a 8-year deal worth $25 million, which also qualifies as a deal of a century, although, every deal with MJ in the 80s and early 90s basically was a deal of a century. This included Quaker Oats’ 10- year $13.5-18 million deal to make MJ the face of their Gatorade drink; It’s hard to imagine MJ and Gatorade not being a couple but Coke was actually the first drink to wine and dine him and then they made the mistake of being outbid by the Oatmeal makers.
The only relationship not happening that’s harder to imagine than the Mike and his “Want to Be Like Mike” campaign makers is Mike not being with Nike. MJ’s original deal with the shoe makers was worth about half a million a year and that relationship has been so beneficial to both parties that they now pay him over $60 million a year to endorse the brand and wear the Jordan shoes under his extra baggy ripped jeans. It’s fun to think about how different things would have been if he got his original dream date and married Adidas instead.
With super agent David Falk by his side, Jordan also signed deals with McDonalds, Chevy ($200k as a rookie), General Mills ($2M in 88), Sara Lee, Wilson, Hanes Underwear ($10M in 89) and Ball Park Franks ($2M in 90). Despite the number of deals he had, Jordan reportedly refused a lot of lucrative offers, including a million dollars for a 1 day appearance in the country of Jordan to promote tourism.
Jordan would finally receive a huge NBA Pay Day in 1996, when he signed a 1-year deal with the Bulls worth $30 million and then a 1-year $33 million deal the following year. It was more than the Bulls wanted to pay, but considering the Knicks were rumored to be offering MJ a deal worth over $20 million, the Bulls had to make their biggest investment ever. Lucky for them, it paid off with back-to-back championships and a few more years with the GOAT.
Source: Hoop Magazine article from December 1991 written by Mark Vancil