Michael Jordan, the man from the crying meme, was awarded $8.9 million by a federal court in Chicago yesterday after he won his lawsuit against Dominick’s, a now-defunct grocery store that used his image in an advertisement for steak in 2009. The ad ran in a commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated and only two customers redeemed the $2 steak coupon.
The court had already decided Dominick’s was liable before the case even went to trial, and the proceedings that just wrapped up were about deciding how much Jordan was owed. The grocery store’s lawyers insisted that $126,900 would be fair compensation, but Jordan wanted more.
The Chicago Tribune’s Kim Janssen reports that it was more about pride than money:
The case turned on the two sides’ competing versions of how to calculate the fair market value of the ad. Jordan testified that he signs only long-term deals expected to be worth $10 million and that he would “never” have agreed to the Dominick’s ad, which compared him to a piece of meat and came with a $2-off coupon for steaks.
Jordan says he will give all the money to charity. The newly minted billionaire made $100 million last year from endorsements last year, according to his attorney, so it’s not like he needs the money. Because this is Michael Jordan, one of the most single-minded competitors ever, the five-year suit was partially about winning but it was also about protecting his image rights. He is a real live brand now, an industry of himself, and so he has to have complete control over his image. Let’s hope he never discovers Twitter and gets mad about the meme.
Photo via Matt Dunham/AP