Why Carmelo Anthony Believes Jordan Brand Has Long Deserved to Win an FN Achievement Award

Jordan Brand received the 2022 FN Achievement Award for Brand of the Year tonight, but if you asked pro basketball superstar Carmelo Anthony — an ambassador of Michael Jordan’s namesake label for 20 years — this win was a long time coming.

“They were supposed to win the award, we were supposed to win this award for so long,” Anthony said before presenting the award to Jordan Brand president Craig Williams.

Although Anthony is quite accomplished — a 10-time NBA All-Star, NCAA champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist — he chose to express gratitude during his speech for the company that signed him and made him a signature athlete.

“I’ve been part of the Jordan Brand family for 20 years, I’ve seen it go from here to here,” Anthony said, making a gesture with his hands to signify the company’s growth. “I’ve had the honor to work with teams over the years, being able to collaborate and design and really get the chance to understand the message behind what we do at Jordan Brand.”

Anthony believes Jordan Brand is particularly deserving of the Brand of the Year honor for its mission to speak for people who aren’t often spoken for, something he also takes pride in.

“Being able to represent the underrepresented communities, the underrepresented consumers, and for me to be able to be the first signature athlete at Jordan Brand for 20-plus years now, it’s their time to get the shine,” Anthony said.

Williams began his speech offering a resounding thank you to the Jordan Brand team.

“I’m here representing probably the most talented, the most driven, the most determined, the most rambunctious, the flyest, the dopest team that we also call a family — and that’s what Jordan Brand is, a family,” Williams said

This family, Williams explained, comes to work every day with an unparalleled enthusiasm.

“It’s easy to get excited about this business, and specifically about this brand, and the reason that we’re so determined is because just under 40 years ago there was a guy in Chicago that defied physics. He told gravity no. He took off from the free throw line, and because of that he gave permission for every young boy, whether they were a hooper or whether they were a community organizer, every adult whether they were an office worker or they just wanted to be fabulous one day, to do the same. That’s why we’re so determined, that’s why we’re so passionate,” Williams said.

Jordan Brand eclipsed $5 billion in sales for Nike Inc.’s fiscal 2022, which should be enough to define a year as strong. Also, the company signed several sports standouts including NFL wide receiver Deebo Samuel and NBA rookie Paolo Banchero, and delivered countless hit collaborations with the likes of J Balvin and A Ma Maniére.

But prior to the awards, Williams told FN that he believes the story of Jordan Brand in 2022 was one of people.

“We try to do the right thing for our community and consumers. Our efforts are focused on that, and along the way, we sell a few shoes and some apparel,” Williams said.

One could argue Jordan Brand’s biggest gains were with women. A June earnings call for parent company Nike Inc. revealed that Jordan Brand’s women’s business has tripled since fiscal 2020.

To bolster its presence with female customers this year, the brand debuted its global Women’s Collective in March, featuring 33 people from community-focused and creative industries, who participated in retreats, panels, events and mentorship. Also, it made key hires to ensure women are front and center on the executive team, such as  33-year Nike Inc. veteran Tonia Jones, and on the athlete front named 18-year-old Kiki Rice to its roster as its first name, image and likeness (NIL) signing.

For 36 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards — often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The 2022 event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Caleres, FDRA, Merrell, Vibram and Volumental.

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