A 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)…
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.