For Pete's Sake

Adidas reportedly declined to sign Michael Jordan to sponsorship deal in 1984

That’s likely Adidas’ reaction as well.
That’s likely Adidas’ reaction as well. The Associated Press

The 1984 NBA Draft may be the most famous professional sports draft ever.

That year, Hakeem Olajuwon was drafted first overall and the Portland Trailblazers grabbed Sam Bowie with the second pick. That left the Chicago Bulls open to take Michael Jordan and that’s how the best player in NBA history ended up in the Windy City.

Portland’s gaffe is of historic proportions, but the Blazers can take some solace in knowing they weren’t alone.

A story in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday details how Jordan wanted to sign a sponsorship deal with Adidas.

This is from the Wall Street Journal story:

Adidas distributors wanted to sign Mr. Jordan, says someone who was an Adidas distributor then. But executives in Germany decided shoppers would favor taller players and wanted to sponsor centers, the person says, adding: “We kept saying, ‘no—no one can relate to those guys. Who can associate with a seven-foot-tall guy?’ ”

Um, whoops. The story adds that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar signed with Adidas, but obviously his shoes aren’t nearly as well known as the Air Jordans. Just ask Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to Follow him on Twitter: @pgrathoff.