CHICAGO - Retired NBA superstar Michael Jordan announced on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) that he has filed a lawsuit in China against a Chinese sportswear and shoe manufacturer over unauthorized use of his name.
Jordan's lawsuit against Qiaodan Sports Company Limited says the firm deliberately misled Chinese consumers about ties to the six-time NBA champion, and Jordan is taking action to preserve ownership of his name and brand.
"It is deeply disappointing to see a company build a business off my Chinese name without my permission, use the number 23 and even attempt to use the names of my children," Jordan said in a statement.
Jordan has been known in China by the name Qiaodan since he became a global basketball star in the 1980s, his playmaking skills being seen on Chinese television since the 1987 NBA All-Star Game, the first NBA telecast in China.
"Unfortunately a Chinese sports company has chosen to build a Chinese business off my Chinese name without my permission," Jordan said.
"It pains me to see someone misrepresent my identity. I have no other choice but to turn to the courts. I feel the need to protect my name, my identity and the Chinese consumers."
Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles in the 1990s and sparked the 1992 Barcelona Olympic US "Dream Team" to gold.
"I've established a name, a likeness or identity that represents me personally. It's a direct connection of who I am," Jordan said.
"When someone takes advantage and misrepresents that, it's left up to me to protect that. That's for everyone -- globally, your name is your DNA. When someone takes it, it's a violation.
"China recognizes that. It's not about the money. It's about the principle, protecting my identity and my name. Any monetary awards I might receive will be invested in growing the sport of basketball in China."
Jordan spoke of a unique connection he has felt with Chinese supporters since his playing days.
I have a special bond with the Chinese fans. They have been to Chicago to support me when I played for the Bulls. I've been to China. They supported me when I was there," he said.
"It's very important to me to make sure they are not misled by this Chinese company. They deserve to know what they are buying."
Jordan led the NBA in scoring a record 10 times and his average of 30.1 points a game is the highest in NBA history. He ranks third on the NBA's all-time scoring list and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. - AFP