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"Nike's dominance of the sneaker business since the late '80s has been predicated on endorsements from basketball stars; this, plus the fact that Nike's 1993 revenues equaled, according to Donald Katz's Just Do It (1994), 'all the TV deals, tickets and paraphernalia of the NBA, NFL, and Major League baseball combined,' has made the company the prime symbol of the commercialization of sports.

"This was dramatized at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, when Dream Team player Charles Barkley said he had 'two million reasons' not to accept a gold medal while wearing a USA sweatsuit bearing the Reebok logo (it transpired that he was actually getting $4 million that year); diplomacy prevailed in the end when team leader Michael Jordan wore the jacket with a US flag draped over the enemy's logo."

["College basketball also operates under Nike's shadow, with players required to wear swoosh-marked socks and shoes chosen by their coaches (who often make more in sneaker endorsement deals than salary)."]

[Chicago teacher Carol Rolowicz once told her class they would be hosting an "unnamed visitor". "I thought it would be someone like Al Gore or Clinton," she declared. "But Michael Jordan? This is the biggest thing that's ever happened to this school!"]

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