Deloris Jordan and Nike: Michael Jordan’s mother convinces him to sign deal on The Last Dance

Sports docuseries The Last Dance has gripped the attention of the world since it launched on Sunday, April 19th.

The series, which is made as a collaboration between ESPN and Netflix, documents the winning streak of the Chicago Bulls up until Michael Jordan retired from the team in 1998.

Although the documentary uses the Chicago Bulls as the broad focus, it also explores the success and legacy of Michael Jordan, one of – if not the – best basketball players in history. The Last Dance takes a look at his success on and off the court with the creation of the Nike Jordan trainer and his appearance in classics such as Space Jam.

But what fans may not have known about the creation of the now world famous trainer is that Michael’s mother Deloris Jordan played a major part in its history. Find out what role Deloris had in the Nike deal and what The Last Dance fans had to say about it.

Screenshot: The Last Dance S1 E5 – Netflix

Who is Deloris Jordan?

Deloris Jordan was born in September 1941 in Rocky Point, North Carolina. She attended Charity High School in Rose Hill, North Carolina, which is where she met James Raymond Jordan Sr. The couple quickly fell in love but schooling and James’s time spent in the Air Force kept them apart for a couple of years.

In 1957, the couple got married and welcomed their first child named James Ronald “Ronnie” Jr. They next had a daughter, Deloris, and another son named Larry.

Deloris gave birth to Michael Jordan, her fourth child, on February 17th, 1963. Deloris and James’s fifth child is a daughter named Roslyn.

While living with the family in New York, Deloris became a bank teller. But when Michael became a great success in basketball, Deloris switched her attention to focus on how she could help her son. In 1989, Deloris and her son co-founded the Michael Jordan Foundation to raise money for disadvantaged children. Deloris served as the foundation’s President. They also founded the Michael Jordan Education Club, and later the James R. Jordan Foundation after his father.

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Deloris Jordan talks Nike deal

In the 1980s, Nike was mainly known as a company that created track trainers. They had not become the major sporting shoe company they are today just yet – which was in large part down to Michael Jordan’s collaboration with the brand.

In fact, Michael Jordan almost signed a deal with Adidas rather than Nike, as we found out in The Last Dance. It was his mother Deloris who convinced him to go listen to what Nike was offering as a partnership deal.

Michael said in episode 5: “My mother said ‘You’re going to go listen. You may not like it but you’re going to go listen’. She made me go on that plane and go listen.”

Michael’s parents, Deloris and James, went with him to the meeting. James said Michael would be “a fool” for not taking the deal. The rest is history!

The Last Dance viewers praise Deloris

The Last Dance viewers were all shocked by the revelation that Deloris Jordan played a major part in influencing Michael’s decision to go with Nike.

One viewer tweeted: “S/O to Michael Jordan’s mum for telling him to go to the Nike meeting!”

Another added that “Nike owes Ms. Jordan a check too” and joked that Nike should put up a statue of Deloris outside their headquarters.


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