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Who Was The First Woman To Sign To The Jordan Brand?

Who Was The First Woman To Sign To The Jordan Brand?

The Jordan Brand has attracted some of the world’s greats to its brand.

However, that should come as no surprise when considering who is at the helm, NBA legend Michael Jordan. It all began when his mother, Deloris, stepped in to ensure he took a chance on signing with Nike.

“My mother said, ‘You’re gonna go listen. You may not like it, but you’re gonna go listen,” Jordan said in ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary, according to NBC Sports. “She made me get on that plane and go listen.”

Jordan was originally looking to sign with Adidas, but he would make his commitment to Nike known when he signed to the brand in 1984 under a five-year, $2.5 million deal, Sports Illustrated reports.
Immediately, Jordan’s presence and the staple Air Jordan exceeded expectations with sales reaching $126 million within one year. By 1997, the Jordan Brand began operating independently and also added apparel and accessories. Today its annual revenue exceeds $6.6 billion, per Sportico.
What’s more the success of the brand has also been strengthened by the likes of its signees. Its first signature athlete with his own shoe was NBA great Carmelo Anthony, who signed a six-year contract valued at a reported $3.5 million annually, though other sources suggest the agreement could have been worth as much as $40 million, as AFROTECH™ previously reported.
Other male signees include Dwyane Wade, Derek Jeter, and Chris Paul.

Who Was The First Woman To Sign To The Jordan Brand?

Photo Credit: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc / Corbis

 

And who was on the roster of women to sign to the Jordan Brand? The first was four-time Paralympic athlete April Holmes in 2008. According to Team USA, her influence was the driving force behind the 2009 Air Jordan signature shoe with APT technology.
During a 2008 conversation with NPR, she spoke about the significance of her partnership with the Jordan Brand.

“They provide me with so much more than just shoes and things. They have an entire family atmosphere at the Jordon brand. I’m the first woman of the Jordan brand. And they’ve been very helpful and instrumental and supportive in things that I’ve been able to do in terms of going out and giving away shoes, donating shoes, and donating equipment to other people,” she told the outlet.

Holmes had been injured in a 2001 train accident and had to have her left leg amputated above the knee. She told NPR that as an active person who had played basketball and run track, she was “devastated” by the loss of her leg. However, after reading about the Paralympics following her injury, she was inspired to leave her corporate career and return to track. She went on to become a three-time Paralympic medalist, receiving the bronze in the long jump (Athens 2004 Paralympic Games); gold in the 100 meters (Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games); and bronze in the 100 meters (London 2012 Paralympic Games), among others.

Who Was The First WNBA Player To Sign To The Jordan Brand?

Beyond Holmes, other women athletes have gone on to stamp their name behind the brand, and this includes former Minnesota Lynx player Maya Moore, who some outlets have reported as the first woman to sign to the Jordan Brand. This is false. However, Moore is the first woman’s basketball player to sign under the brand. According to HuffPost, analysts estimated Moore’s deal to be valued between $3 million and $4 million, annually.

“I am thrilled to welcome Maya Moore into the Jordan Brand,” Michael Jordan said, per another ESPN report. “Not only has Maya proven to be a prolific winner on the court, but her hunger and determination to make an impact off the court makes her a valuable addition to the Jordan family. We look forward to working with Maya as she carries her success to the next level.”

Photo Credit: Hannah Foslien

Moore told the outlet, “As a student of the game, it is a dream come true to align myself with a brand that has a rich history in sports. Like most kids, I grew up idolizing Michael Jordan and continue to work relentlessly to reach his iconic status on the court. I’m truly motivated to take my career to the next level as a member of Team Jordan.”

A blog post notes that Moore’s collaboration with the Jordan Brand included the Air Jordan 11, two pairs of XX3s, an Air Jordan 10, Air Jordan XX8 PEs, and Air Jordan 1 PE. She remained with the Jordan Brand throughout her four WNBA wins, retiring in 2023.

Recent Female Athletes To Sign To The Jordan Brand

In recent years, the Jordan Brand has added some new faces to its roster. This includes LSU freshman basketball player Mikaylah Williams who signed a name, image, and likeness (NIL) deal in 2024. The year prior, WNBA player Gabby Williams was signed to the brand.

In 2021, the Jordan Brand made history for forming partnerships with 11 female athletes, which included Moore, Kia Nurse, Asia Durr, Satou Sabally, Chelsea Dungee, Aerial Powers, Crystal Dangerfield, Arella Karin Guirantes, Te’a Cooper, Dearica Hamby and Jordin Canada, per USA Today.

“These amazing athletes are defining a lot of things about Jordan Brand and leading a true conversation that’s impacting culture and our communities across the globe,” Jordan said in statement released by Nike, according to USA Today.

 



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