Everyone has a story about their stake to fame, that was never cashed in on. Perhaps an idea that was never followed through with. Alternatively, maybe an idea passed to someone else that the other person rode to major success. If not that, everyone knows the ‘could have been’ pro-athlete. Well photographer Jacobus Rentmeester is fighting for his stake. As Nike stocks rise, the former UNC photographer who conceptualized the ‘jumpman’ pose, lost his court war with the shoe giant over the billion-dollar Air Jordan logo.
In 1984, LIFE Magazine gave Jacobus Rentmeester was given the job of taking a photo of Michael Jordan. Then, a University of North Carolina student, he eagerly accepted the opportunity to make a name in his career of passion.
“Rentmeester created a never-before-used pose — inspired by ballet — to generate Jordan’s appearance of weightlessness and power.”
This is what the former UNC photographer’s petition to the Supreme Court says. Since that 1984 photo session, the silhouette of that same ‘Air Jordan’ conceptualized image is now considered by Time Magazine as one of the most 100 influential images of all time. It’s known as the Nike Air Jordan trademark logo. The only problem, Jacobus Rentmeester was only compensated $15,000 by Nike, a 2-year licensing fee for his idea and work.
Air Jordan Brand Worth
Last year alone, the shoe giant’s Air Jordan fashion house generated over $2.8 billion dollars in sales. In 2017, wholesale revenues from the athletic brand brought in an even more staggering, $3.1 billion dollars. The overall earnings for the brand since it’s 1985 start, some business analyst estimate to be around $60 billion dollars. With no view of it falling off in the future, the Air Jordan brand is easily worth a jaw-dropping $250-billion-dollars today.
How similar are the photos?
If seen, anyone has to admit, the original photo taken by Rentmeeser (see here) is strikingly similar to Nike’s 2nd most recognizable brand logo. In both the UNC days’ photo for LIFE Magazine and Nike’s original picture for the Air Jordan trademark logo, the NBA legend is in the air with his legs spread wide and one had up for the dunk.
What’s more convincing is the setting of both photos. Though taken in two far apart, different locations, the scenery looks the same. Michael Jordan appears to be at an outside, street basketball court. The two photos were also taken from a frontal view angle, as Jordan lept for the goal’s rim to dunk.
How different are the photos?
What can you see that sets the two pictures apart? The Nike team’s photographer told Michael Jordan to straighten his limbs out. They also style him with his own Air Jordan clothing, which wasn’t available at the time Rentmeeser photographed him. Last, since Jordan was in North Carolina for the first photos, the background was more rural. In Chicago, Nike capture the city skyline.
One has to ask however. If you simply cut out Michael Jordan and made a silhouette of him, what’s the chances a photographer would have such similar cut out naturally? Being the battle is over the logo, not a photo composition, it’s really hard to see how this is possible.
Regardless, Nike won the battle in court according to CNN business. The Supreme Court declined to even hear the case brought on by Jacobus Rentmeester. He attempted to sue Nike for violating copyright law, since he never authorized the athletics mega brand to use his photo or concept.
This battle was a follow up decision to Jacobus’ first attempt to sue via the district court. The case was thrown out, with an appeals court holding up the decision. The secondary hering ruled that Nike’s photo was not “substantially similar” to Rentmeester’s.
Many photographers and artists are upset at the blatant disregard to the copyright law. Without such laws, no one working in an art field could survive and thrive from their ideas as they should be able. Professio00nals feel it’s another case of corporate money being able to live above the law by flexing financial prowess.
Nike Triumphs Over Michael Avenatti… Lawyer R.Kelly Said Was Trying to Extort Him
This news comes just after famous attorney Michael Avenatti was arrested for trying to extort Nike. Apparently he thought the giant ‘Swoosh’ brand would pay him $25-million dollars for hushing evidence of them allegedly having employees pay players to sign or affiliate. Therefore he sent a request for the money with a threat, which Nike shared with the FBI. From there, the Federal Authorities began a deeper investigation into Avenatti which found all of his skeletons in the closet.
The famed attorney, who also represents one of R Kelly’s alleged victims, may have also been trying to extort the R&B singer as the Chicago crooner priorly claimed. Secondly, he’s also been found guilty of providing banks with falsified documents to secure loans. Mr. Avenatti also committed some sort of criminal wrongdoing to fund his coffee business.
Nike Stock Market Prices
In layman’s, the bust is another victory for the Nike company. Analysts expected see-sawing on the stock market because of the attorney’s claims, but so far, all is good. According to the stock calculator, a profit of $100 could be made from the buying & selling of 1000 shares. Today, March 25th, the company stock peaked at $83.22 USD.
While this is a low profit compared to other days, it is still a clean profit. Many news reports suggest a rally on the price later this week. This is highly likely, considering the Feds did rush in to protect the brand and uncover all dirt Avenatti was hiding.
Nike may make Lonzo Ball sneakers soon
Beyond the stock market, Nike still has even another win on the horizon. Their 3rd biggest trademark holder, Lebron James may be recruiting. After Lavar & Lonzo Ball’s supposed dissolvement of the Big Baller Brand, it appears ‘Zo’ sneakers may be coming with a Swoosh soon. VladTV reports Lonzo has removed all ‘BBB’ brand related merchandise and information from his social media profiles. Since then, King James has been offering encouragement and says Nike would welcome him to the company.
It appears the Swoosh brand is winning just as much as their biggest brand’s athlete, Michael Jordan. If there were ever business moves that deserved championship rings, this week would definitely be it for Nike.
Watch several of the Nike Air Jordan commercials from between 1986 through until 2017 below, here on BallerStatus.com.