Spencer Haywood, NBA Star, Lost $2 Billion with Nike

‣ Spencer Haywood missed out on an estimated $2 billion with Nike by selling stocks in 1973.
‣ Haywood assumed Nike would go out of business.
‣ Magic Johnson also missed out on a significant amount of money with Nike.


NBA Hall of Famer Spencer Haywood recently shared a surprising story about how he missed out on a potential $2 billion deal with Nike back in 1973. At the time, Nike was still a relatively new company, known as “Blue Ribbon Sports.” They offered Haywood stocks instead of a cash contract because they didn’t have the funds to sign him. Unfortunately, Haywood had to sell the stocks to help his agent pay rent, as his agent had power of attorney over his finances.

Haywood explained, “I was on the road and he [my agent] had the power of attorney. He said, ‘I can’t pay my rent… The shoe ain’t never gonna make it. You’ll get a contract with Adidas next year.’ So I said, ‘Hey, do what you gotta do.'” Little did he know, Nike would go on to become one of the most successful and iconic brands in the world.

In hindsight, Haywood realizes the tremendous opportunity he missed. “This is 1973! The joke was, that shoe is never gonna make it,” he said. “And the first time I wore the shoe, the players were walking up behind me… and popped the shoe off. I was so discouraged by my shoe.”

While it’s a heartbreaking story, Haywood’s agent also missed out on a significant payday. Considering that the agent usually earns 10% of the share, they could have made a substantial amount of money as well. It’s a valuable lesson about the importance of making informed decisions and having faith in the potential success of a brand.

Despite missing out on the Nike deal, Haywood had an incredible career in professional basketball. He grew up in poverty, with his family working as sharecroppers to make ends meet. Haywood’s talent and perseverance allowed him to rise above his circumstances and become one of the best players of his time. He won multiple awards and championships and was eventually inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Haywood’s story serves as a reminder that success is often built on taking risks and recognizing opportunities when they arise. While it’s natural to have regrets about missed opportunities, it’s important to learn from them and keep moving forward. Who knows what other doors might open in the future?

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

Related NBA News