“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”—Michael Jordan
Maya Moore has been flying high for quite some time. As a four time AP All-American, a member of the record-setting UCONN Huskies women’s basketball team, and the first pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft, Maya is used to soaring above expectations. But now, as the first female member of the Jordan Brand, she is officially airborne. Call her what you want, but her new nickname might as well be JumpWoman.
Maya is now standing tall as the lone figure in prime position to help make major strides for the marketing of women’s basketball. She has the skills, the talent, the charisma, and most importantly now, the brand. Moore is in a spot that no other previous women’s basketball player has been. She has a chance to garner marketing attention that could be priceless to the WNBA and make herself a nice stash of pocket money in the process. Sure, other female athletes and of course WNBA players have signed endorsements and shoe deals in the past. Candace Parker has deals with Gatorade, McDonald’s, and her own signature shoe with adidas. Diana Taurasi, a former UCONN star like Moore, is endorsed by Nike. Yet, in the world of basketball marketing, there is no brand like the Jordan brand.
Fifteen years ago when the WNBA was playing its inaugural season, the Jordan Brand was developing into a sub-brand of Nike. At the time, plenty of people were hoping that one of the faces of the new women’s league would be signed by the GOAT’s new brand. Despite fan’s wishing, it didn’t happen. Years passed, and people continued to want it to happen but still yet it didn’t. Finally in 2011, Maya made it happen.
Jordan has taken a chance on Maya just like Nike took a chance on him during his own rookie season. When Jordan began his NBA career, Nike was a brand struggling to find its niche in the shoe market and #23 was a player with a big potential. Today, the industry of women’s basketball, like Nike in the 1980’s, is a business looking to revitalize its marketing efforts, and with the help of Jordan, a new #23 is leading the charge.
Maya’s signing has already garnered more attention for herself and the league than many thought possible. Within hours of the news breaking, Maya Moore was trending on both Yahoo and Twitter. NBA players including the likes of Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony were giving the new JumpWoman shout-outs and congratulations on Twitter, and ESPN even had the signing scrolling across its ticker as breaking news. For the world of women’s basketball, this attention is huge.
As impressive as MJ’s free-throw line dunks and 360 degree lay-ins were back in his day, perhaps his most remarkable leap yet was the major jump to include a female athlete as a member of Team Jordan. And staying true to his image, Jordan’s pick-up of Maya means he is sticking his tongue out to every other major athletic shoe company. He has her, they don’t. It’s as simple as that. The Jumpman now has a JumpWoman. And it was Maya that made it happen.