In 2014, Adidas fell behind Under Armour as the second biggest sportswear company in the U.S., and they have made big mistakes that hurt the company.
According to WSJ, one of the biggest mistakes was passing up the opportunity to sign Michael Jordan when he entered the NBA in 1984.
A University of North Carolina basketball star named Michael Jordan wanted a sponsorship deal with Adidas when he went professional, say people familiar with the matter.
Adidas distributors wanted to sign Mr. Jordan, says someone who was an Adidas distributor then. But executives in Germany decided shoppers would favor taller players and wanted to sponsor centers, the person says, adding: “We kept saying, ‘no—no one can relate to those guys. Who can associate with a seven-foot-tall guy?’ ”
Jordan, at 6’6″, signed with Nike instead, forming a dominant shoe empire off which he still makes $100 million per year.
Adidas did sign centers of that NBA era, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who still has Adidas sneakers named for him today.