Stephen Jackson Received His Jordan Brand Contract In His Locker After Wearing Protege Shoes That Nearly Ended His Career

Stephen Jackson Received His Jordan Brand Contract In His Locker After Wearing Protege Shoes That Nearly Ended His Career

Michael Jordan had an unconventional way of signing Stephen Jackson.

In 2009, Jackson joined the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets) and had a debut averaging 21.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals in 39.3 minutes across 72 games, the Basketball Network reports. That year, the team appeared in the NBA postseason for the first time.

In 2010, Jackson received mentorship from Jordan, who had acquired majority team ownership the same year. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the former owner, Bob Johnson, had sold his stake for a reported $275 million, ESPN noted, while The Charlotte Observer stated it was $180 million.

“I come out of the game, I’m asking him, he’s telling me certain stuff that he sees that I should do…,” Jackson said, according to the Basketball Network. “How many people can say that? How many people can say that they’re sitting on a sideline with MJ?”

Beyond guidance, Jordan also helped save Jackson’s playing career. During an “All The Smoke” live show in Chicago, IL, Jackson recalled a time when he wore Proteges on the court. The athletic shoe line was made by Al Harrington, his former teammate from the Golden State Warriors.

We made a check off that b-tch let me start there… but it definitely almost ended my career,” Jackson explained. “Al like, ‘I need you to get in. I need you.’ I’m like, ‘Cool. You my n–ga.’ Worse decision I ever made. I end up breaking my toe and playing in these sh-ts, right, for three years. I think every quarter at every time out if you wanted to know my moves you don’t even have to watch the tape, just the black marks was all on the court so you can see everywhere I went.”

When Jackson left the Golden State Warriors to play for the Charlotte Bobcats, he was still loyal to the shoe brand. However, during his first game, his shoes malfunctioned again. The incident caught Jordan’s attention.

MJ like, ‘Hold on. Hold on. What’s that? What’s that? What is that? No, no, no, no, bring him some Js.’… He felt so bad for me. The next day, I had a Jordan contract in my locker,” Jackson said.

Jackson reflected on signing to the Jordan brand in an interview with Hypebeast. “I wore the same pair of Jordans from sixth to eighth grade — back then you’d catch me in those shoes going to school, outside shooting hoops, at the parties and even the middle school games themselves,” he said. “Getting my deal directly from Michael Jordan when I was stuck in those bullsh-t Proteges was a blessing, and it meant everything to me to have that deal.”

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