Fact Check

Did Michael Jordan End Partnership with Nike Over Dylan Mulvaney Promo?

Basketball Hall of Fame player Michael Jordan signed his first sneaker contract with Nike sports goods company in 1984.

Published Apr 20, 2023

Image Via @Trump_24_27/Twitter
In April 2023, basketball legend Michael Jordan ended his partnership with Nike over the company's partnership with trans celebrity Dylan Mulvaney.

In early and mid-April 2023, claims that Basketball Hall of Fame star Michael Jordan had ended his partnership with sports goods company Nike over the latter's previous partnership with trans star Dylan Mulvaney surfaced on social media and online portals.

Some of these posts, like the one below, also referred to other companies, including, apparently, the beer company Anheuser-Busch, and expressed hope that the trans celebrity would lose money. It misspelled the word "lose."

"Good for Michael Jordan. Mike ends his partnership with Nike over the man child who likes to pretend he's a female. I truly hope Nike, AB, & every other sponsorship that has signed the man child looses a shit ton of money or goes out of business."

michael jordan ends nike partnership (@Trump_24_27/Twitter)

The latest claims about Nike surfaced after Mulvaney posted a picture with Nike apparel, with the hashtag #nikepartner, among others, on Instagram in early April 2023.

The first known claim about the Jordan-Nike partnership ending appeared to originate on April 9, 2023 on Patriot Party Press, part of the America's Last Line of Defense network of websites and social media accounts, which describes its content as follows: 

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

Another portal repeated the claim about Jordan, with this headline: 'Nike and Michael Jordan's partnership comes to a conclusion: "Our Values No Longer Align"'

There was no evidence that Jordan parted ways with Nike. The basketball legend signed his first sneaker contract with Nike in 1984. There have been no legitimate reports of that partnership coming to an end.

We reached out to the Twitter account above, asking the user to provide a link to the screenshot of the website in the tweet and whether the user still stood by the claim. Snopes also reached out to Jordan for a response to the claim. We will update this report when we receive a response.

Meanwhile, some news media reported that Nike was facing backlash over its partnership with Mulvaney. Some athletes issued calls for a boycott of Nike over the company's choosing the trans celebrity as a brand ambassador. We reached out to Nike for comment on the claim, as well as the reported backlash it was facing over Mulvaney.

Nike has faced calls for boycott in the past, as well. For example, the National Association of Police Organizations called for a boycott after Nike announced a commercial deal with American football star Colin Kaepernick.

After some companies, including Anheuser-Busch, announced partnerships with Mulvaney, a number of satirical and demonstrably false assertions surfaced online, including that an Anheuser-Busch beer, Budweiser, had lost $800 million in one day. Snopes fact-checked other satirical claims that surfaced about the alleged effects of the boycott on Anheuser-Busch, as well.

Given that there was no evidence of Jordan ending his partnership with Nike, and the claim originated with website that labels its content "satire," we give it the rating of "Originated as Satire."

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


Fact Check-Satirical Article about Budweiser Losing $800 Million in One Day Taken Seriously Online | Reuters. 12 Apr. 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230412143338/https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-budweiser-satire/fact-check-satirical-article-about-budweiser-losing-800-million-in-one-day-taken-seriously-online-idUSL1N36E1GX.

"False Claims about Budweiser's Fortune Add to Endless Rumors amid Controversy." HITC, 13 Apr. 2023, https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2023/04/13/budweiser-loses-800-million-in-one-day-rumor-debunked/.

Michael Jordan Ends Partnership With Nike: "Our Values No Longer Align." 9 Apr. 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230409140015/https://patriotpartypress.com/michael-jordan-ends-partnership-with-nike-our-values-no-longer-align/.

Michael Jordan Signed with Nike on October 26, 1984 - Sports Illustrated FanNation Kicks News, Analysis and More. 19 Apr. 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230419032215/https://www.si.com/fannation/sneakers/news/michael-jordan-nike-celebrate-38-years-together.

Nike and Michael Jordan's Partnership Comes to a Conclusion: "Our Values No Longer Align" - Topnews67.Com. 14 Apr. 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230414002002/https://topnews67.com/2023/04/13/nike-and-michael-jordans-partnership-comes-to-a-conclusion-our-values-no-longer-align/.

Nike Angers Feminists after Making Trans Influencer Dylan Mulvaney New Face of Women's Workout Gear | Daily Mail Online. 6 Apr. 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230406005631/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11943777/Nike-angers-feminists-making-trans-influencer-Dylan-Mulvaney-new-face-womens-workout-gear.html.

Nike Backlash Grows Over Work With a Transgender Model. 19 Apr. 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230419155814/https://www.businessinsider.com/nike-backlash-grows-over-work-with-a-transgender-model-2023-4.

Olympic Silver Medalist Calls for Nike Boycott after Retail Giant Makes Dylan Mulvaney Paid Ambassador | Fox News. 19 Apr. 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230419032902/https://www.foxnews.com/sports/olympic-silver-medalist-calls-nike-boycott-retail-giant-makes-dylan-mulvaney-paid-ambassador.

Damakant Jayshi is a former writer for Snopes.