Nowadays, Bleacher Report notifications of NBA scores and highlights have turned into notifications of quotes, screenshots, and opinions of a Michael Jordan documentary series. One of the themes the May 3 continuation of “The Last Dance” delved into how Jordan, who wanted to sign with Adidas, became Nike’s golden goose.
As the city of Atlanta opens its economy up, crowds of people stood in line to buy Jordans that are currently sold-out online. Among several interesting takeaways from this news story, one underlying narrative is Nike leaning on its golden goose to reinvigorate its slumping shoe sales.
The income of many American citizens has suffered during the pandemic and as a result, sneaker sales have plummeted. With the summer months fast approaching, economies will (and should) slowly open back up. NBA practice facilities are opening up where allowed, hopefully signaling the continuation of the season. As money starts to flow again, without a doubt, some of the reintroduced cash flow will go towards sneakers. Even in the midst of the pandemic, Nike released a new pair of Air Jordans that sold out before “The Last Dance” hit ESPN airwaves. Sitting at home, reliving MJ’s greatness, will reinvigorate people’s adoration for Jordan and loyalty to his iconic shoe brand even that much more. There will be nine Jordan shoe releases in the month of May, possibly strategically designed to correlate with the documentary and the unfreezing of the economy. It is a sales tactic that has been executed before, as Nike usually rolls out several high-profile shoe releases around the income tax period in the United States.
“The Last Dance” also elevates two more Nike shoe brands: the late Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. The series offers yet another well-deserved tribute to Kobe Bryant while exploring the relationship between MJ and the Black Mamba, discussing their respect for one another, and exploring their striking similarities. Earlier this year, Nike apparently sold out of Kobe Bryant products in the wake of his death. If products have replenished, the sales of his sneakers should spike upward.
Then there is the always-polarizing LeBron James. One of the most popular, and lazy, debates among basketball fans is the MJ vs LeBron debate. Watching “The Last Dance” will entice this discussion even further, cementing fans’ positions on either side. Given his popularity and proximity to Michael in the discussion of basketball’s greats, LeBron, who leads active NBA players in shoe sales, should continue to reap the benefits of increased product sales, thanks in part to the documentary series.
Another point worth discussing is the wealth to be made from peace and respect. Athletes often fall victim to their own hype and praise. With social media allowing athletes and fans to become more connected, some players become engrossed in the fan-fueled arguments about who is better. These discussions can be fun, and fill some time on sports debate shows, but are rather useless from an athlete’s perspective. Michael, Kobe, and LeBron publicly never participated at that lower level of discussion. They embraced each other, respected one another’s basketball prowess, and shared the prosperity of multi-million dollar shoe deals. Unlike the rivalry between social media prima donnas Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, MJ, Kobe, and LeBron realized there wasn’t anything to be gained from belittling each other.
“The Last Dance” serves as a celebration of Michael Jordan and his legacy, a remembrance of Kobe Bryant, another discussion piece against LeBron James, a victory for Nike, and a reminder that there is more to be gained in peace than in conflict.