Easy, to wear sneakers in the NBA? Not that much ! The proof with the anecdote of a player, who was banned when he was about to walk the floor with the mythical « Jumpman » flocked on his shoe. A great regret, even to this day.
In an ancient and now largely bygone era, the world of sneakers was far from the business it has become. Truth be told, until the 1980s and the rise of Converse around Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, no one really cared what NBA players were wearing. It was then that in the mid-1980s, a certain Michael Jordan landed, taking everything in its path, and shaking up a league then very conservative about it.
Almost 4 decades later, Jordan Brand, its famous « jumpman » and its countless models are an institution all over the world. Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum, Nicolas Batum, Luka Doncic, Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony are some of the effigies of the brand, which is among the most popular on the planet.
Raja Bell banned from wearing Jordans
In the early 2000s, elite defenseman Raja Bell was happy to celebrate his first NBA game wearing Jordan 16s, as he had long wanted. The back therefore happily took out his best pair, but he got a memorable stop by the team manager just before entering the floor. This is what he told the microphone of Quentin Richardson:
He said, « Bro, you can’t wear Jordan shoes unless you’re on Team Jordan. »
My world has collapsed.
As on the court, MJ does not laugh and does not compromise with the rules! This was now true at the time, because the situation has since changed.
As sneakers have become popular, players have taken to wearing various brands, with no specific affiliation. Today, if a star wants to wear Jordans without having a contract with the brand, there is a good chance that he will not suffer any reprimand. On the other hand, the deal would perhaps be less obvious if it was a “lesser” player.
Either way, Jordan Brand has solidified its status as a true sneaker juggernaut. In 2022, the brand surpassed the 5 billion revenue mark for the first time in its history. A totally dizzying sum, which allowed Michael Jordan to pocket the tidy sum of 150 million dollars. Just that.
Wearing Jordan shoes in the NBA is not so simple, and Raja Bell has had the bitter experience of it. The surest way to do that is either to be a superstar or to be signed by Her Majesty to Jordan Brand. A real checkbox in the to-do list of many league players.