As a player, Michael Jordan was a complete NBA player — the best ever? Quite possibly. Whether gliding from the free throw line for an awe-inspiring dunk or winning championship after championship, the man was surely a basketball legend. But here is a crazy thought, maybe Michael Jordan’s legend is even greater off of the court.

How so?

Think of MJ’s brand imagery which he exemplifies like none other. This alone is reason enough for Stealing Share to celebrate him.

Take this example.

My wife and I were on the road just a few days ago. Passing us on our left was one of those ever fun 16 wheelers. I slowed down just a bit to let the truck pass. As it did, we noticed that on the rear door of the truck was a massive image of the back of a bald, African American head. “Who’s that?” my wife knowingly asked. I immediately responded, “Michael Jordan.” I was right as just above Michael’s head was a tag for Michael Jordan Cologne.

thWhile at first, this example may not seem like an earth shattering Stealing Share branding story. Yet, it is. How many other celebrities can you recognize from the back of their heads alone? Sure, family members and immediate friends are a different story. But this is Michael Jordan, years retired from the NBA and now the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, who I can still recognize with the quickest of reaction times. Same too with the meaning of his brand.

To me, Michael Jordan’s brand symbolizes greatness and sleekness. It’s one that even today suggests importance. Most of all, the products with which his brand are associated seem a notch better than their competition (just as he was as an NBA player).

What about the Air Jordans and how is it that they still Nike’s most coveted basketball sneaker? It’s because of what Michael Jordan’s brand represents. Even more, why is it that all that Nike needs do is show us the silhouette of the young Jordan leaping through the air for a dunk, and we immediately recognize who this athlete is? Simply put, because the image has meaning that comes with all kinds of associations.

I can say this unequivocally. Few others have ever been branded so perfectly. And as Michael Jordan was one of the greatest winners in the NBA, so too is his brand.