Adidas didn't sign Michael Jordan because executives thought he was too short

Michael Jordan Adidas Instead of NikeGetty Images/ Ethan MillerMichael Jordan still makes $US100 million per year off his shoe deal.

Adidas is on a mission to fix their image, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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 favour taller players and wanted to sponsor centres, 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 $US100 million per year.

Adidas did sign centres of that NBA era, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who still has Adidas sneakers named for him today.

In the NBA, Adidas is the second most popular sneaker, but it still trails Nike by a lot:

NOW WATCH: Nate Silver has the perfect formula for winning your March Madness bracket

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.