Not many fans might be aware of George Raveling and his interesting connection to Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. This is quite surprising since MJ once revealed that he was the true mastermind and reason behind Jordan’s decision to sign with and endorse Nike.
As fans will undoubtedly be aware, Jordan has made most of his fortune through sales from his shoe company the Jordan Brand. It might interest the people to know that MJ could only do so due to his contract with Nike. He revealed that Raveling played a role in convincing him to promote Nike. This begs the question as to who Raveling actually is, his connection with Jordan, and how these events unfolded.
George Raveling initially urged Michael Jordan to join Nike
Many NBA fans were under the opinion that a former American sports marketing executive named John Paul Vincent “Sonny” Vaccaro was the man behind Jordan’s decision to sign with Nike. That would make sense considering that Vaccaro was responsible for signing MJ to his first sneaker deal.
However, the 6x NBA champion revealed that a man named George Raveling also deserves a fair share of credit for his decision. To those who do now know, Raveling was a former player and coach. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1960 draft and is a respected senior figure across the league.
It might interest people to know that Raveling also had an opportunity to coach Jordan during the 1984 Olympics. When interviewed about the influencing factors in his decision to join Nike, MJ could not resist and had to set the record straight.
“In all honesty, I never wore Nike shoes until I signed with Nike…I was a big Adidas, Converse guy coming out of college. Then actually my parents made me go out to hear their proposal. Prior to all of that, Sonny likes to take the credit. But it really wasn’t Sonny, it was actually George Raveling. George Raveling was with me on the 1984 Olympics team. He used to always try to talk to me, ‘You gotta go Nike, you gotta go Nike. You’ve got to try.”
Although Raveling might not have given Jordan a concrete explanation for his stance, there is no denying that it was the right time. We are glad to see that MJ gave due credit and acknowledged the advice given by his former coach.