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Jan 9
Michael Jordan's Leadership Decisions Could Get Your Utilities Disconnected



I grew up in a home where the funds were low…very low. The adults had to decide very often whether they would pay their utility bills or buy the youngest a pair of sneakers. Sometimes the bill would get paid, sometimes the sneakers would get bought.


But that was before sneakers cost over $100.


Michael “Air” Jordan, one of the biggest names and smartest branders in basketball history, released his 23rd edition signature shoe to the public this month, and will continue making this shoe available to the consumer through February. As the name implies, yes, there have been over twenty releases before this one, and for the Nike shoe company and Michael Jordan, they will not get rich. They will get richer.


I absolutely have no problem with profitable companies and especially with entrepreneurialship at all. I am an entrepreneur myself. I have no problem with a company making money. I make money too in my business. However, I do take issue with leaders who are in the spotlight and in the prime of their "game", exploiting their fame and creating a buzz for their products that far outreach what their real fans, their real followers, their real community is able to afford. After all, to be honest, the real fans of Michael Jordan are little boys and girls who want to “be like Mike” and think having his shoe will make them be so. The only thing about this case is that not only will they not be like Mike (because there is only one), these children will whine, pout and cry for the superstar’s shoe thinking that they will be changed.


Well, the only changing will be the parent’s bank account when they pay $185 for his shoes and their child still can’t play basketball. Read this excerpt from a child who wanted a pair of the Air Jordan's, but feared he would be laughed at if he didn't play up to the MJ standards:

"I first saw my friend, Brian, rocking the AJ 6 Infra-reds at high school back in 1990. Man! Those shoes look weird, different and futuristic. They were hot!! I wanted a pair but to wear a pair of Jordans at high school would be like telling everyone you can play ball. Well, I can't ball very well but I love the game. I can't slip on a pair of Jordans and embarass MJ's legacy, no way mate" 

Excerpt website

As a leader in his industry, what responsibility does Michael Jordan have to the community, if any? Should he lower his price per shoe to satisfy the “little” people and their parents. Or, should he continue in his savvy business style making millions for Nike and millions for himself?

What do you think?


1 Comments/Trackbacks

Nice article. I have to say, though, that as much as I despise companies exploiting a "captive group", I don't blame Mike on this one. Well...I do to some extent. He has some culpability with Nike in drastically overpricing a product. But I think the greater blame belongs with the parents. As you wrote, the adults in your household (presumably the parents) decided whether to pay bills or by shoes. They no doubt decided which among the available shoe choices they would buy. And, I'll bet they raised you to not give too much weight to peer pressure, not to try and live like the Jones's, etc. Yeah...I think $185 for children's shoes (i.e., relatively short term wear items) is a bit ridiculous. But product pricing is determined in large part by "what the market will bear". Who is making the decision on how much to bear today?

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