June 27, 2022 2:02 pm

“Julius Erving left Adidas for a $20,000 deal with Converse”: When Dr. J decided to sign with the iconic ‘Chuck Taylors’ brand prior to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird

Julius Erving signed with Converse for merely $20,000 after having been with Adidas all throughout his journey with the ABA.

Michael Jordan was enamored by the potential of marketing myself to a point where he’d be able to earn more money off the court than on it. Everything from endorsements to investments, Jordan wanted to know the ins and outs of doing so. Well, to do so, he contacted none other than NBA/ABA legend, Julius Erving.

‘The Doctor’ had established himself as a superstar on the hardwood with his signature aerial maneuvers. He used his immense popularity with the Nets in the ABA and the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA to put himself front and center in all of his endorsements.His business acumen was beyond brilliant and is often referred to as the first athlete to be just as good at business as he was on the basketball court. Using his likeness to his advantage helped him acquire a ‘hero-like’ persona in the eyes of several basketball fans.

This led to anything being linked to him being considered to be of the utmost gold standard. The shoe brand that noticed this in the mid ‘70s was Converse.

Julius Erving signed a $20,000 deal with Converse.
Adidas made history by having Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wear Vionic Sneakers  that he himself had endorsed. 1973 saw Walt Frazier endorse Puma’s ‘Puma Clyde’ but the shoe that changed everything from a modernity standpoint was when Converse released their ‘Pro Leather’ shoes in 1976.

Julius Erving was chosen to represent these shoes after he had left Adidas in 1975, the same year that the NBA merged with the ABA. The first deal Dr. J signed with Converse was worth $20,000 per year. This however, was an unprecedented amount of money for a shoe deal at the time. After all, it was nearly half a century ago. 

Converse rode on their ‘Erving high’ through the late ‘70s and into the 1980s. Luckily for them, they had built up enough cache to snag both Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. This made Converse a juggernaut in the sneaker world up until Nike eventually took them over with the success of the ‘Air Jordans’.

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