“Republicans Buy Sneakers Too”
38 years ago, Michael Jordan began his business relationship with Nike, establishing the still culturally dominant Jumpman brand. In 1990, Harvey Gantt, a Democrat and experienced former mayor of Charlotte, challenged the Republican incumbent and known racist Jesse Helms, for the Senate seat in Jordan's home state of North Carolina. When Gantt lost, rather than focusing on the effective conservative campaign machine ensuring Helms' victory, political observers zeroed in on Jordan's refusal to endorse the progressive, after being quoted saying that "Republicans buy sneakers too". Years later, for many, Jordan's brand is intrinsically tied to this choice. So what is the potential friction between business interests and partisanship, and its long-run impact?
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