Michael Jordan’s lawsuit against Chicago area grocery store chain deemed “greedy” by judge

Michael JordanA recent trip to court proved MJ still got moves, though perhaps not a grasp of what his name is actually worth. You see, in 2009 NBA legend Michael Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and there was much rejoicing. Among those feting His Airness was Sports Illustrated, who put out a commemorative issue celebrating Jordan’s induction into basketball immortality. Inside that issue was an ad by a large Chicago based grocery store chain by the name of Dominick’s, who did their own bit of congratulating, honoring Jordan with a full page ad that included his name, his iconic No.23, a and a very bad pun that segued seamlessly into a $2 off steak coupon.


This didn’t sit too well with MJ, who was alerted to the ad via his financial adviser, who happened across it while perusing the Sports Illustrated honoring his client. Jordan sued Dominick’s Finer Foods LLC and its corporate parent Safeway Inc. in 2010 for using his name without permission. His attorneys figured that fair-market value for Jordan’s name and/or image was $5 million, the majority of which would go to charity (after legal fees, of course).

Here’s the ad that got Dominick’s into the legal mess (via Ball Don’t Lie)…

MJ ad

U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur has already ruled against Dominick’s for their misuse of Jordan’s image, but wanted the Bobcats owner to appear in his court to discuss what reasonable damages would be, because Shadur, like the rest of us, thinks $5 million might be a bit outrageous. MJ’s lawyers had hoped to keep their high-profile client from having to appear in court, to which Shadur responded, from a May 22 transcript, “Are you allergic to the notion that he somehow ought to participate in a lawsuit that he brought?”

Jordan avoided attention by entering the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse through its underground garage and then taking a private elevator to U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur’s courtroom to explain his, uh, beef, with the steak ad.

From the Chicago Tribune...

Shadur, who has ruled that Dominick’s is liable for a 2009 magazine advertisement that used Jordan’s name without permission, wanted the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats to appear in person to hear the judge’s views on what reasonable damages would be, according to court transcripts. He rejected a demand from Jordan’s attorney that the president of the grocery chain also appear.

“I think it would be a constructive use of time to see whether some element of sanity cannot be introduced into this matter,” Shadur was quoted as saying in a transcript of a May 22 hearing.

“I thought the demand was greedy,” Shadur said of Jordan, who is seeking $5 million in damages for a one-page ad that ran in a Sports Illustrated commemorative issue celebrating Jordan’s induction into the Hall of Fame.

The suit is ongoing, and probably won’t be resolved for a while, unless Jordan backs off on the exorbitant amount he’s suing for, which would be a wise decision benefiting everyone involved. Then again, this is the same Michael Jordan who took a chance on Kwame Brown twice, so maybe wise decisions aren’t MJ’s forte.


About the author: Jeff Greenwell


Jeff Greenwell is the writer/editor of Last Angry Fan. Jeff has been known to rock a Speedo while belting out Robert Goulet tunes from his front porch, and in his spare time he enjoys capturing and training feral goats to be his minions. Also known to dig a nice brick of cheese from time to time.

Website: http://lastangryfan.com


Editor's Picks

  • Mike in Georgia

    It’s actually ridiculous that this ad was deemed to have ripped off Michael Jordan. It seems more like a congratulatory ad, mixed with a steak coupon…how many business owners can actually afford an ad simply honoring Jordan?…does he think everyone made the ridiculous amount of money he made?…the judge should award $1 and Dominicks should remove any and all reference to MJ in their restaurant going forward just to prove a point! You’ve lost respect from me MJ….too bad, too sad!

  • Largebill

    Absolutely disgusting. Company congratulates him and he decides to act like a snotty punk and sue for $5,000,000? He is already rich. This will just raise the cost of groceries for his fans. He shouldn’t get more than a penny which is all his name is worth now.

  • Robellini

    Gordon Gecko would be proud of MJ.

  • Vay Metta Yn

    The Judge and everyone should give MJ what he deserves. He is not rich, he needs to pay for all his post surgery and medications due to him taking PED. The grocer committed a crime and the Chicago are will have to pay by lower employee wages or higher mark-up cost. Power to MJ.

    • Wrigley


  • Allen Payne

    GREED ………Jordan should get ‘jail time’ for being so GREEDY …our courts are filled enough with phony – baloney lawsuits …they had a bloodbath in Chicago last week-end save the courts to prosecute those thugs instead of rewarding millionaires for being acknowledged as a ‘cut -above ‘ …change the ad to a cut-below normal/real people …..that puts him in the category of greedy-garbage …

  • Wrigley

    No CLASS!!!

  • R T

    Do you guys read he is not keeping the money he was giving the money away, its about the point of using his name, if you dont know Jordan is a brand his name is how he makes money now, all the company had to do is ask thats all they had to do. If the company would have asked you would not hear bout this. They stole his name helloooo his name is MONEY like i said you guys should read all of the story.


    I may be the only one, but I have NEVER liked Jordan, and I have NEVER purchased any of his apparel. He is greedy, and selfish.

    • JAD

      He’s so cheap he sweaks he don’t go for nothing

  • LUNA

    GREED & ARROGANCE. Financial advisor, and lawyers take 4,999,999.00, take MJ golfing anywhere in the world, and $1.00 goes to charity

  • Tanya Postula

    He should have sued for 10 million…Michael Jordan is a Brand….Its not greed.

  • Paul Michael

    in b4 this website gets sued for talking about Michael Jordan

  • #1 Jordan Fan

    Dominick’s was wrong and should pay whatever Michael would
    have earned if he had approved the use of his image. The judge was so wrong in
    saying anything so hateful. It should not matter how much money Michael has or what he does with it. Dominick’s owes him so pay up! Michael Jordan is an icon for Chicago and deserves respect.

  • Corey Bingham

    So….now that this was decided for $8.9 million, you think that the lawsuit should of been thrown out? 😐


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