Boycott Nike, Jordan Brands

By Todd A. Smith

            Undoubtedly, Michael Jordan is the best basketball player ever to lace up a pair of sneakers.  He is also probably the best product-pitchman we have ever seen.  And although I do not know Jordan personally, it is almost safe to say that being the best in certain areas of life, does not always translate to all avenues in life.

            The violence that erupted over the limited edition Jordans during the holiday season was a foreseeable tragedy and proves that Nike and “the greatest of all time” are disconnected from the people that made them wealthy, and their products should be boycotted until they can show the everyday person in America that they understand and sympathize with their plight.

            When I was a child coming up in the 1980s, Jordans were the thing that every young man, and many young women, wanted to have.  My parents personally put thousands of dollars in Jordan’s pockets throughout the years.  Jordans were such a hot commodity, that many children around the country were robbed, or even murdered, for their sneakers.

            Despite the horrific nature of these deaths, Jordan and Nike were not responsible; our culture at large was responsible.  However, the limited edition Jordans is a totally different animal.  Jordan and Nike should know that when you release limited edition Jordans with only a few pairs per store, total chaos will erupt at the stores and on the streets.

            Many people want to be the first to have the limited edition Jordans, and because of the scarcity, people will do almost anything to get a pair, such as rob people and sell them on eBay for twice the amount it costs in stores.

            There were acts of violence everywhere from Seattle to Houston.  According to, a Houston-area man was recently beaten and robbed for the limited edition Jordans.  Furthermore, the Houston Fox affiliate has been rightfully criticized by the African American community for their stereotypical portrayal of African American consumers in a news package, which contained live and pre-recorded footage, the day the limited edition Jordans were released.

            Although Jordan was the best to ever touch the hardwood, that does not give him the right to look down on his consumer from an ivory tower while total chaos erupts in the streets.  His arrogance even extends to celebrities as he reportedly refused to take a picture with hip-hop star Chamillionaire, telling the Houston rapper he only takes pictures with his female fans.

            While celebrities have every right to refuse to take pictures when they are in public, those same celebrities should not make their money on the backs of the same people they think they are better than.

            Jordan famously refused to endorse an Illinois Democrat for political office while playing for the Chicago Bulls, stating that Republicans by shoes as well.  However, after the recent fiasco behind the limited edition Jordans, nobody should buy his shoes or any Nikes until they learn how to respect the “little people” that made them so big.

Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

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