Milwaukee Bucks: Michael Jordan shares appreciation of Marques Johnson in The Last Dance

Michael Jordan could be seen voicing his appreciation for Milwaukee Bucks legend Marques Johnson in the latest episodes of The Last Dance.

Certainly among Milwaukee Bucks fans, it’s long been far from a secret that Michael Jordan had a poster of a franchise legend adorning the walls of his room at the University of North Carolina.

Now, though, that story has an extra dimension to it. In archival footage featured in the fifth episode of ESPN’s The Last Dance, Jordan name checks Marques Johnson as a player he likes, directing attention toward the poster on the wall behind him.

The photo of a young Jordan dancing under an umbrella in his dorm room has taken on something close to iconic status over the years, and clearly visible in the back of that shot, below a poster of another Bucks legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is a “Johnson’s Law” poster.

“Johnson’s Law” was the title for the striking Johnson poster that was accompanied by the slogan “What goes up goes in”, as part of an ad campaign for Adidas, whose shoes Johnson wore at the time.

Amazingly, as Jordan reveals in the documentary, Johnson was one of the primary reasons why the man who went on to become synonymous with Nike, both individually and as a brand, had originally hoped to sign with Adidas.

Asked in present day whether there was a shoe company he wanted to go with, Jordan smiled wryly and said: “Yeah, I was Adidas.”

Transitioning straight to a younger version of Jordan in his dorm, admiring Johnson’s poster as he speaks, the then Tar Heel pronounces:

“I like the Los Angeles Lakers, and I like Marques Johnson, and I like Adidas. I like Adidas shoes.”

Of course, as everyone knows, Jordan was ultimately convinced to sign with Nike, and the rest is history.

As for Jordan and Johnson, the connections between the pair of MJs don’t end there.

Johnson went on to make a very brief and wordless appearance in Jordan’s 1996 film Space Jam, as a member of the New York Knicks who can be spotted at the free throw line in a scene where NBA players are starting to have their powers stolen.

Johnson has previously discussed the legendary pickup games that took place on the set of that movie, while he has also shared an interaction he had with Jordan, at that time, about the poster:

“When he was shooting the movie Space Jam out in Los Angeles, I was doing something on the court. Dunked it a couple of times. And he was like, ‘Come on, old man. You don’t need to be trying to dunk, that was never part of your game.’ And I was like, ‘Well, you had my poster up in your room in college, so whatever I was doing back then, I was doing right!’ He was like, ‘Yeah, you got me on that. You got me on that. I sure did. I had your poster up. I used to love your game back then.'”

Between his well-advertised respect and admiration for Sidney Moncrief, his view of beating the Bucks as an important milestone early in his career, and his fandom of Marques Johnson from before he ever reached the NBA, it’s clear the formidable Milwaukee squads of the late 1970s and 1980s left an indelible mark on Jordan.