Adidas didn't sign Michael Jordan because executives thought he was too short
Getty Images/ Ethan Miller
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?' "Jordan, at 6'6", signed with Nike instead, forming a dominant shoe empire off which he still makes $100 million per year.
Adidas did sign centers of that NBA era, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who still has Adidas sneakers named for him today.In the NBA, Adidas is the second most popular sneaker, but it still trails Nike by a lot: