Well, that didn’t take long. Hours ago, UCF announced that His Heirness Marcus Jordan would be taking the floor in tonight’s exhibition in his dad’s Air Jordans. According to Darren Rovell at CNBC, adidas has responded… by summarily canceling their $1.9 million sponsorship with the Golden Knights.
The immediate ramifications - financial and otherwise - are as yet unknown, but adidas says all notions of a contract extension with the school are completely off the table. And our question is pretty simple: where the hell was Michael Jordan on this one?
As we mentioned when this all first went down a couple weeks ago, the issue, at its core, was whether Marcus Jordan would be more than just Michael Jordan’s son. The initial signs weren’t great; he got custom-made Jordans during his AAU career, then only committed to UCF when they told him he could rock the Jordans.
That didn’t happen, of course, and the fact that the adidas contract was openly in danger didn’t prevent Marcus from refusing to wear adidas.
At that point, a responsible father would probably have told his son that he’s only 18, a freshman in a marginally major conference, and in absolutely no position to start making dictates on thngs like shoe deals. A responsible father would have told him to just be part of the team and earn his own legacy.
And yet, Jordan’s silence on the matter was deafening. We never heard him encourage or discourage his son’s involvement with the Air Jordan brand. It’s nice if that comes off as “let the son make his own decision,” but let’s be honest: that’s a deliberately obtuse approach to the situation.
After all, it’s not like 18-year-olds are normally capable of making the most responsible, unselfish decisions in the first place; some coach telling Michael Jordan’s son that he can’t wear his dad’s most famous shoe line of all time after all isn’t going to fly well to an adolescent. That’s where the father - who also just so happens to represent the shoe company - steps in. Usually.
So what now? Unless Jordan leverages this to swing a new Nike deal for UCF - which would be a coup of mammoth proportions, because UCF is hardly a traditionally basketball power - then the school is utterly screwed over in the middle of an income canyon, and it’s all because neither Jordan would extricate themselves from the Jordan brand long enough to do the right thing and put an 18-year-old into the same shoes that his teammates have to wear. That seems more than a little ridiculous.