Adidas and Converse's massive Michael Jordan mistake

Michael Jordan reluctantly signed a shoe deal with Nike in 1984, after Adidas and Converse failed to secure the signature of the player who would eventually be regarded as the NBA's greatest ever. Pictures: Getty Images

‘The Last Dance’ has delivered on insight into the Chicago Bulls’ locker room and front office during their rise with Michael Jordan.

The latest release of episodes dished details about how Jordan transformed the sneaker game. It must have been a painful watch for Adidas executives.

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The folks at Converse probably won’t be rewatching this one either.

During Episode 5, Jordan revealed that not only did he not intend to sign with Nike, but he didn’t even want to visit the campus for a pitch.

His agent, David Falk, had to call his parents to talk him into to visiting with the apparel company.

“I couldn’t even get him to get on the damn plane and visit the campus,” Falk said.

Jordan said that he relented when his mother talked him into taking the visit. When Nike offered Jordan $250,000 for his first endorsement contract, shoe history was made.

Michael Jordan’s surprising first choice for shoe deal

Had Jordan had it his way and Adidas been better prepared, the shoe game would have looked entirely different.

“Do you have a shoe company that you wanted to go with?” Jordan was asked.

“That was Adidas,” Jordan responded.

Falk then went on to talk about exactly why Adidas wasn’t the right fit.

“Adidas was really dysfunctional by that time,” Falk said.

“They had just told me, ‘We’d love to have Jordan. We just can’t make a shoe work at this point in time.’

“I wanted Michael to go with Nike. They were the upstart.”

Adidas, Converse drop the ball on signing MJ

Converse didn’t exactly play its cards right either, according to Jordan. It had Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving all signed to deals when Jordan was shopping. And they weren’t ready to make him the priority.

“Converse had big players,” Jordan said. “They told me, ‘We cannot envision you being put ahead of them.’ OK, fine.”

Even Nike representative Howard White knew Jordan didn’t want to be at Nike.

“In the early 80s, Nike was, for the most part, a track shoe company,” White told “The Last Dance.” “Michael didn’t even want to be at Nike.”

Of course, Jordan Brand went on to become the biggest in the history of the shoe business, while Converse and Adidas became relative afterthoughts in basketball.

While sneaker heads have long believed that Jordan originally wanted to join Adidas, the blunt terms of its mistake in 1984 revealed on Sunday must be painful to digest.