Confusion And Exclusion After Nike Removes Jordan Brand From Cut Bank Store | Regional
CUT BANK, Mont. – From hats, sporting a slam-dunking silhouette, to high-top shoes and everything in between, Cut Bank’s Norman’s Sport and Western has been selling the Michael Jordan clothing line for over 40 years.
But now that Nike clothing line is gone.
And as Evening Anchor Angela Marshall discovered, these dedicated, small-town MJ fans wonder why they’re being left out.
He transformed the game of basketball, from his tune scoring dramatic dunks, to his ‘Air Jordan’ shoes. Michael Jordan has become an idol, to say the least, for athletes around the world.
This is especially true for residents of Montana’s Indian reservations, where basketball is more than a sport: it’s a way of life.
“With Indians, it’s just crazy,” said shoe collector Jordan Carlson First Strike. “He’s a hero. He set the example, what it’s like to win again and again when you have the opportunity.”
“You really don’t have anything to admire in the community. So you admire Jordan,” added Joe Wagner, another Jordan shoe collector.
Carlson First Strike and Joe Wagner, both from the Blackfeet Nation, have been buying their MJ products from Norman’s Sport and Western since they were kids.
And manager Teri Bickford knows these men and all of her clients well.
“When people come in, they want Jordan,” Bickford said.
Bickford has been the manager of the store almost since it opened in 1979.
Of its customers, 95% live on the Blackfeet reservation, with 60% of them specifically purchasing Nike’s Michael Jordan clothing line.
“People will go without necessities just to be able to buy their child a pair of Jordans,” Bickford added.
But these longtime wearers and avid collectors of the Jordan clothing line don’t feel like they are winning.
“Everything on the shelves, from shirts to shorts to backpacks, is gone,” said Angela Marshall.
As part of maintaining our agile attack, we recently decided to restrict and focus the distribution of Jordan brand products. That’s what was said in an email to Bickford, which she said knocked her mouth out.
She said, “We’ve always been a really good account, paying our bills on time, taking merchandise past their cancellation dates, taking Retro Jordans past their release dates.”
Immediately, she went to her Nike.net account to buy all the Michael Jordan merchandise she could just to keep her inventory well stocked, her sales up, and her customers happy, while trying to negotiate with the Nike sales reps. to reinstall the sports equipment.
“I’ve had a few people who have said, ‘Well you’ll just have to replace it with something else,’” Bickford said. “And I was like, ‘What am I going to replace the GOAT with? “You know, the greatest of all time as a player and as a line,” she said.
Over 18 months later, she received no response from Nike.
And now Joe and Carlson find themselves with few options to get “The GOAT” gear. They can either walk 110 miles to Great Falls, where there is no guarantee they will find the shoes they want, or go online, which is not feasible for many Native Americans.
Carlson First Strike said, “I went so far as to contact the Great Falls head office. And the lady had to talk back and forth with the UPS driver just to get the shoes to my house.”
“And if it all goes to online shopping, that will be there for those communities. Department stores don’t care about communities. And we do,” Bickford added.
And it’s a decision that makes Joe and Carlson wonder if Nike is living up to its mission of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Carlson said: “If you look at the 88% poverty rate on our reservation and the missing and murdered people, these are tough times. And that, mixed with a life of exclusion, when Nike did that, we we feel even more excluded. “
Nike has also withdrawn its Michael Jordan clothing line from Master Sports in Le Havre, near the Rocky Boy reserve.
Angela contacted Nike and heard a note Thursday.
John Jowers, Global Communications for the Jordan brand, said: “Our goal is to serve athletes with the best of Nike in a dynamic and increasingly digital market through our owned and partner channels. specific to our relationships with our partners. “
Jowers also wrote that Nike is committed to supporting the Indigenous community, inspiring young people to lead active lifestyles.
Their N7 fund has awarded more than $ 8 million in grants to indigenous communities since 2009, he wrote.