Michael Jordan's association with Nike was recognized as being the "greatest sports marketing innovation of the last fifty years" in a poll released bu Synergy.com in January, 2011. His immediately recognizable name has helped Nike grow from being a small part of a large market into a dominant force in the industry.
In 1984, Nike took a risk and used its entire advertising budget for the year to sign a contract with Jordan, who was a rookie with the Chicago Bulls at that time. The company had no way of knowing how his career would develop; Nike was known at that time more for running shoes; there was not a specialized and defined market niche specifically for basketball shoes. The iconic image of Jordan's dunk changed all of that.