Marcus Jordan just proved to the world that blood is indeed thicker than shoe leather. As you may recall, Marcus — son of Michael (and yes, Marcus, you’re stuck with that for life) — signed on to play at the University of Central Florida, a school that has a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with Adidas. Marcus wanted to wear Nike Air Jordans for pretty obvious reasons. The school and Adidas were said to have been attempting to find a “workable solution.”
Here’s your solution. Marcus wore a pair of white Air Jordans in an exhibition victory over Saint Leo on Wednesday night. It isn’t clear whether or not Adidas waited to see in what shoes Marcus came out before they released this statement, but according to the story from ESPN.com, an Adidas rep sent an e-mail to the Associated Press reading, “The University of Central Florida has chosen not to deliver on their contractual commitment to Adidas. As a result, we have chosen not to continue our relationship with them moving forward.”
Was this the right move by Adidas? It’s easy to see their point. We don’t know what kind of player Marcus will be, but even if the guy averages a Blutarsky (0.0 PPG) and does nothing but sit the bench for four years (he won’t), he’s still going to be the most visible player on that team just because he’s Michael’s son. Marcus offered to wear Adidas products in every other aspect — uniform, sweatbands, whatever — but evidently this was not going to satisfy Adidas.
Like everyone else involved, Adidas had to realize that this was a rather strange set of circumstances, but could they really ask a kid to sort of stick it to his dad like that? Adidas could have taken the high road, acknowledged the bizarre situation, and let Marcus wear the Jordan kicks and otherwise Adidas gear. That way, the rest of the team still wear Adidas products, the contract is left in place, and it’s only one single player in non-Adidas shoes. Instead, with Adidas choosing to bow out, now it’s a whole team wearing another brand instead of just one player. Adidas must be doing pretty well if they can just give up team contracts to other brands (especially, say, a certain company headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon)? Some might say, “It’s Central Florida, not North Carolina.” But, no matter the school, they could have made themselves look better here instead of just taking their contract and going home.
And that’s the most interesting part of this. Adidas could have sued to make UCF honor the contract, and probably would have won, but they would have looked worse in the court of public opinion. Seeing this, instead of keeping the contract in place except for Marcus Jordan’s feet, they just decided to quietly exit. The only matter now is to see if the University of Central Florida basketball team will go from being called the Knights…to the Phil Knights?