CLAIM: Michael Jordan turns down $10M deal with ‘woke’ Nike
A January 8 Facebook post (direct link, archived link) shows photos of former NBA star Michael Jordan as well as photos of a Nike Sportswear store.
Text at the bottom of the image reads: “Michael Jordan rejects $10M deal from Nike, says ‘I won’t save your woke brand’.”
The post was shared more than 6,000 times in one week.
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Our rating: False
The claim originated from a satirical website that publishes “fake news and absurdity.” There is no credible evidence that Jordan refused to do a deal with Nike.
Nike and Jordan: A partnership dating back to 1984
The claim stems from a report on October 3, 2023, on Esspots, a website that publishes parody content. Its “About” page says it is a subsidiary of media site SpaceXMania.com, also known for its satirical stories.
Esspots’ “About” page reads: “Our team of writers and editors is dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest in fake and absurd news, laced with humor and satire.”
The Facebook post did not indicate that the story was satire.
This post is an example of what’s called “stolen satire,” in which stories originally written as satire and presented that way are captured and republished in a way that makes them appear to be legitimate news. As a result, readers of second-generation posts are misled, as is the case here.
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Nike has been criticized in the past few years for its stance on social justice issues and its partnerships with athletes such as football player and social justice advocate Colin Kaepernick. In April 2023, the company launched a new sports bra in partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, which prompted more criticism.
However, there are no reliable news reports or sources suggesting Jordan refuses to deal with the sportswear company.
Jordan partnered with Nike in 1984 to create the brand’s Air Jordan shoe, which was made and named after the then-NBA rookie. As depicted in the 2023 movie “Air,” he signed a five-year, $2.5 million deal with the company that year.
The partnership has expanded over the years to include more Jordan merchandise, with the former NBA star earning approximately $1.5 billion from the deal as of 2023.
USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Agence France-Presse also refuted the claim.
Our fact-checking sources:
- Temple University April 3, 2023 How Michael Jordan Revolutionized the Sneaker Industry — and Our Relationship with Shoes
- Nike, accessed January 12, 2023, Jordan
- Inc.com December 15, 2023 Michael Jordan has earned over $1.5 billion through his partnership with the Nike Jordan brand.why this isn’t enough
- The New Yorker, September. Behind Nike’s decision to support Colin Kaepernick in April 2018
- @DylanMulvaney April 5, 2023 Instagram Post
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