Nike, Inc., reeling from a controversy regarding the shoe company's high school basketball all-star game last month, will be losing its greatest spokesman if Michael Jordan stays retired from the NBA.
"It was a shock to me and to most of the people at Nike," said Ed Janka, Nike's manager of sports marketing for high school and college basketball.
Janka said Nike officials support Jordan, the Chicago Bulls' superstar who is expected to announce his retirement today, no matter what he does. "He's been such a big part of our company," Janka said. "And I think we've been good for him."
Janka said he hopes Jordan will continue to represent the shoe company because "This guy is so special. He is the real thing.
"They can talk all they want about (Larry) Bird and Magic (Johnson). As great as they were, this guy took it to the next level. Nobody can take his place right now."