Three million dollars hang in the balance for what could be the most expensive pair of basketball shoes ever. Marcus Jordan, the middle child of Air Jordan himself, is at the center of a shoe issue that has contracts and funding at stake.

UCF and the adidas brand have been contractually obligated to each other for some time, and as such, sportsmen and women are required to wear their gear.  However, with a “special” situation now in the court, controversy has sparked and two sides have shown their standpoints.

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On one side… “Let him wear Nike.”

To bring up an old adage, “it’s not the shoes that do the running, it’s the feet.”

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Marcus Jordan is just one player out of all of UCF’s teams wearing one pair of different shoes, and as long as his aptitude for the game is intact, then whatever logo that’s on his feet shouldn’t be a problem. UCF should be glad to have him on the team, and as such, measures should be taken to please his feet.

UCF already gave their word that he could wear the rival shoe and going back on their word is a very bad idea. Jordan junior did his research and was appeased by being given the go ahead to wear Nikes…why is it such a big deal now? Jordan did absolutely nothing wrong, and the fault is on UCF Athletics for any misunderstanding.

Others state that Nike or Jordan Sr. could swoop in and pick up the tab after dropping adidas, which seems rather overdramatic for a single pair of shoes. Wealthy though the family may be, their funds shouldn’t need to come into the discussion—who says Nike wants to pick us up anyway? Who says Jordan wants to fork over the difference?

It’s just a pair of shoes, and it’s not like Jordan would appear on the court draped in nothing but Nike apparel.

On the other side… “Don’t let him wear Nike.”

To bring up another old adage, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

If you have to wear a certain shoe like all your teammates do, and all the players before you did, contracts state you don’t have much of a choice. Yes, he wants to wear the mark of his father, but perhaps he could take this as an opportunity to step out of his father’s massive shadow. The school has the scholarship and the contract, and by letting him wear the Nikes, UCF pretty much throws in the towel just because he’s indirectly famous.

The Bigger Picture

In five years, how will this end up? Marcus Jordan will have worn Nike, graduated or transferred from UCF and taken his talent and fame with him. Adidas will likely have terminated or drastically reduced funds from the contract with us and taken their multimillion dollar deal with them. What is UCF left with? No player, no gear, no contract. One person should not have such control over a situation, regardless of who his parentage is.

Or, Jordan is a team player and wears adidas like everyone else before him, just like he’s under contract to. He either lives with it and wears Nike on his own time, or goes to a school where the Air Jordans would be supplied. The contract is intact with adidas, and he goes to another school. Financially speaking, it seems wearing the adidas would be the most logical step, even though we’d lose Jordan. But to satisfy young Mr. Jordan, who knows what the higher ups in suits and ties will decide.

A lot of people haven’t even heard about Marcus Jordan until recently thanks to the shoe incident, and now hear about him in a saga involving shoes? If it was something pertaining to actual game play like in-game violence or something, perhaps it would be a little less ridiculous…but shoes? This isn’t a runway, it’s a court. The only people who will notice a pair of shoes in the heat of a game are those who are actually looking for them, and not paying attention to anything else.

It all boils down to money, really. It’s just one player out of all the sports wearing the gear he was told he could wear before entry to the school-and it’s not even the whole gear, it’s just the shoes. UCF said it wouldn’t be a problem, and yet, now it is. This problem was bound to come up, and it could have been resolved by getting this in writing beforehand. If this was another guy with the same stats, same height, same passion for Nike, same everything, but different last name, this wouldn’t even be up for discussion. Why should an exception be made because of who his father is?

Let’s say UCF had a deal with Toyota. Would the choice of driving anything but a Toyota be made unavailable to all students who owned a car? Or, in a cheaper, somewhat related scenario, if UCF had a deal with Hanes, could no student affiliated with a sports team wear Victoria’s Secret or Fruit of the Loom?

At the end of the day, whatever shoe he wears will smell the same. The people in suits and ties have a decision to make: will they uphold the contract with adidas or bend to the will of the son of someone famous?

The school is under the contract, not the athlete. Perhaps if this is such a big deal then they should also wear Hanes undershirts while they play.

A contract is a contract, and the Jordans should know this more than anybody. Preference or not, he should follow it. When he’s famous he can get to wear any shoe he wants and be their walking advertisement. Until then, he’s causing a breach. He shouldn’t expect to ride in on the coattails of his famous father. Jordan Sr. had to work hard to be as big as he is, and Marcus Jordan should have to do the same. Wearing the rival company of his father would be a great start to show he appreciates diversity in spite of previous preferences, or something equally schmaltzy.

There’s no “I” in team. He plays for UCF, not his preferences.