Judge is newest MLB star to sign with Jordan Brand

August 18th, 2023

followed in Derek Jeter's footsteps as the new Yankees captain last winter, and the two now have something else very significant in common: Judge is the newest baseball player to sign an endorsement contract with Nike's Jordan Brand, which announced the deal on social media on Friday.

Jeter was actually the first baseball star to align with Michael Jordan's eponymous brand back in 1999, when Jordan expanded his team to include athletes in other sports besides basketball. (Jeter once wryly proclaimed himself Jordan's "designated hitter" in a Jordan ad, a nod to M.J.'s own fledgling baseball career.) In the generation between Jeter and Judge, a host of MLB's finest players have donned the Jumpman, including fellow Yankees star CC Sabathia.

Judge, who has been wearing Jordans on-field since Spring Training, is now the fifth current MLB player to rep the brand, along with Manny Machado, Mookie Betts, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Jazz Chisholm Jr. (Chisholm, who signed to Jordan earlier in 2023, has set the bar high with some eye-catching cleats this season.) Another longtime team member, David Price, is inactive this season.

Judge becomes the second former Most Valuable Player on the roster, joining Betts, who described to MLB.com last season how much of an honor it was to join the team. And membership certainly has its privileges: Betts has been known to hang with Jordan himself, and he was the lone baseball player featured in this 2021 ad campaign.

Judge, similarly, has many opportunities with Jordan ahead of him, given his status as one of the absolute best players in MLB, who happens to play for arguably its most iconic franchise in the biggest media market in America. Jeter was Jordan's lone baseball player to receive a signature cleat -- in fact, there were a dozen Jeter shoes in all -- which may be something Judge can aspire to.

“If you follow basketball at all, you have to be a fan of MJ,” Jeter said in another Jordan ad. “Not only the things he did on the court, but the way he handled himself off the court. I’ve gotten to know him more and more over the years, and I think you have a sort of respect for him -- more so as a person than as just a basketball player.

“So that’s always been something I’ve wanted to be associated with.”

Judge now enjoys the same status. But given the gala rollout for Judge, including a callback to the iconic Jordan 6 rings picture, it's clear Jordan Brand has big plans for its newest star as well.