Michael Jordan helped branding and celebrity endorsements explode. In the 1990’s at the height of his basketball prowess, he was one of the most recognizable people on earth, and one of the most liked celebrities (despite not having much of a personality and never taking a stand on any difficult issues).
Nike and Michael Jordan created a branding powerhouse. Air Jordans became a pop culture phenomenon and launched an explosion in the sporting goods industry. The brand expanded beyond basketball, beyond sporting goods, and beyond the playing career of Jordan. I think that Nike’s Air Jordan should be in the branding hall of fame, if there is one.
Here are just a few of the trademarks that grew out of this brand [click marks and logos for USPTO records]