Was Prince an integral part of the development of Air Jordan sneakers?

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Shortly after the death of Prince Rogers Nelson (the musician known only as Prince) in April 2016, a macro image exaggerating the musician’s role in the commercial success of NBA superstar Michael Jordan began to circulate in line :

The timeline shown in the macro shown above just doesn’t match real world events. He claims Prince invested in Nike in 1971, but this is highly unlikely as the musician was only twelve at the time. Also, given that Prince released his first album in 1978 and only achieved great success the following year with the release of the album Prince, it is highly unlikely that he had significant funds to invest in Nike in 1971.

The claim that Prince brought Michael Jordan to Nike in 1983 is possible in a temporal sense (Jordan first signed with the company in 1984), but we have found no evidence that events actually took place. as described by this macro. Contemporary newspaper articles from 1984 also failed to mention any connection between Prince, Jordan and Nike.

An ESPN article published in February 2013 gave a detailed history of how Michael Jordan landed with Nike, and although ESPN identified several people involved in Jordan’s meeting with Nike (Jordan wore Converse shoes rather than Nike and was reluctant to change), Prince was not among them:

Nike was a rising star. The company’s turnover rose from $ 28.7 million in 1973 to $ 867 million at the end of 1983. But things started to turn around them towards the end of the year. In February 1984, the company reported its first quarterly loss in its history. The Los Angeles Olympics that summer gave morale a good boost – notably, Carl Lewis won four gold medals in Nike – but there was no immediate translation in sales.

Converse and adidas weren’t ready for Jordan, but suddenly Nike needed him. If only the company could get him on the plane.

The claim that Prince designed the Air Jordan 1 is also based on fantasy, as the first Air Jordan sneakers were established by Peter Moore:

Peter Moore has been involved in just about everything you find cool including video games, sneakers and most importantly the design of the sneaker that changed everything. Tinker Hatfield receives all the daps for his work with MJ, but it was Moore who created the first Jordan (and the ball and wings logo) that sparked a phenomenon.

The statements made in the macro displayed above appear to be an exaggeration of a comment issued by Jordan shortly after Prince’s death:

“Like so many people, I am shocked to learn that Prince has passed away,” Jordan said. “In a world of creative artists, Prince was a genius. Its impact not only on music, but on culture, really cannot be measured. His songs have inspired me throughout my career and remind me of so many moments in my life.

Although Michael Jordan praised Prince as having inspired him throughout his career, the musician apparently had no direct impact on Jordan’s business success with Nike.

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