The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 25 Woodson, a Jordan brand wearer him- self when he played with the Oakland Raiders, got the ball rolling by reaching out to His Airness himself. "I don't know about speed dial, but I can get in touch with him," Woodson said of Michael Jordan with a smile. "I texted him, he texted me back. I called Jim. That was that. That was the genesis. "I don't know if it's flexing my mus- cle, but I had an idea. Before I took it to anybody, I took it to the man himself. I think that was the only way to do it. He gave me the blessing to bring it up. The rest is history." At the same time, Harbaugh's son and Michigan's tight ends coach, Jay Harbaugh, had also planted the seed to his father that the Jumpman might be the way to go. "A month or two after [I got here], my son Jay — a younger guy at 26 or 27 — said, 'I think we should be Jordan,'" Harbaugh recalled. "I said, 'Great idea.' It all went into motion, ended when Michael Jordan called me on the telephone and said they wanted us to be the first and only football pro- gram in the world to be Jordan. I said, 'You had me at hello.' "We've been working for this for a very long time. It's big. It's big. We have a thing where we like to say, 'Who's got it better than us?' And the answer to that is 'Nobody' — except possibly future us." "Us" also includes the Michigan basketball team. Michigan head coach John Beilein got word last summer that the Wolverines were seriously consid- ering a switch and immediately set out to do his homework. "Jim Hackett called me and said it looked like we were going to Nike … what do you think about Jumpman and going with Michael Jordan gear?" Beilein recalled being asked. "I knew a little about the possibility. I quickly called all my assistants, did some quick research. I called [head coach] Roy Wil- liams at North Carolina, and I have known John Thompson at George- town, but there were only four other schools wearing it. "I wanted to make sure it was the right thing. Yeah it looks fashionable and great, but at the same time are we going to get the product? They said, 'Absolutely, they've been terrific.' "It's a unique brand, for sure, and we're one of the few schools using it. We are all enthused. The kids are wear- ing it and love it … it's comfortable. It's been a tremendous addition to an already great brand." HIGH DEMAND The reaction far exceeded anyone's expectations, perhaps even Nike's. The new gear first went on sale to the pub- Michigan football's deal with Nike's Jordan brand is about more than just shoes, but the team's footwear was among the most talked-about items unveiled Aug. 2. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN Former Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson, a Jordan brand athlete during his NFL career, got the ball rolling on the partnership between Michigan football and Michael Jordan's personal brand under the Nike umbrella with a text message to the basketball icon. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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