Michael Jordan On Turning Down Certain Endorsement Deals
You’d think a million dollar offer would be a hard offer for anyone to turn down, but for someone with as many opportunities–and as much money–as Michael Jordan, he can be a little bit pickier about where he gets his money from and what he has to do for it.
Back in the ’90s, Jordan was really capitalizing on his time as a basketball player by dipping his foot into a lot of different endorsement deals. He was the face of a bunch of different products like Gatorade, McDonald’s and, of course, Nike, among many others. But just because he accepted a lot of deals doesn’t mean he didn’t turn down just as many, and there was one lucrative deal in particular that MJ passed on simply because he didn’t want to say the product’s name.
The basketball legend’s 1992 interview with Playboy was recently dug up this week by Business Insider, where he talks about the failed deal. Michael says that he was approached early in his career to endorse Beanee Weenees, a canned combo of baked beans and hot dogs. The deal would have been worth nearly $1 million annually, but the baller just couldn’t do it.
“Two or three years ago Quaker Oats came to me to endorse Van Kamp’s pork and beans—Beanee Weenees, I think it was called. You ever heard of Beanee Weenees pork and beans? It was close to a million bucks a year. I’m saying, Beanee Weenees? How can I stand in front of a camera and say I’ll eat Beanee Weenees? If I wanted to be a hardnosed businessman, I could have been in a lot of deals, like the one with Johnson Products. I had a deal with them for their hair-care products. I had two or three more years on that deal when I started losing my hair. So I forfeited the deal. But if I had wanted to be greedy, I could’ve said, Screw you, you didn’t know my hair was falling out so you owe me money. But I didn’t.”
Even though MJ is a billionaire now, a million bucks would have been considerably more important to him early on in his career. $1 million in 1990 is worth about $2 million in today’s dollars. Jordan only made $2 million in his first three NBA seasons combined before his salary jumped to $2 million in 1988–so it’s safe to say that endorsement deal had to be a little enticing.
Would you have taken the deal?!