Elite

OXNARD, Calif. – Dak Prescott told Jordan Brand designers who he is and what he stands for. He shed insight on his tattoos, a portrait of Prescott’s life and times, his highs and lows. The NFL shield bearing “135” to signal his draft position. The message from his mother: “Allow me to be your story.”

a baseball player wearing a helmet: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in action during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Oxnard, Calif., Wednesday, July 28, 2021. © Michael Owen Baker, AP Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in action during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Oxnard, Calif., Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

Designers turned his visions into 2021 cleat proposals. 

“It was like, a big wow moment,” Prescott told USA TODAY Sports. “Like, ‘Damn, this is elite. This is exclusive.’” 

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Prescott’s personalized game cleats this season will feature Dallas Cowboys-themed navy and royal blue colorways, even a camouflage blue in concert with the NFL’s Salute to Service initiative. Expect Prescott’s footwear to incorporate his “M O M” mantra that honors his late mother, Peggy, and recalls his “Mind over Matter” mantra. He’s hesitant to reveal everything now – but don’t be surprised if a sailboat or the lion Peggy once doodled enters the rotation. 

“Just epic and crazy amazing stuff,” Prescott said. 

Such begins a five-year partnership between Prescott and basketball legend Michael Jordan’s division of Nike, a marriage unique from its inception. Prescott is the first Cowboys quarterback to join Jordan Brand. In fact, he’s currently Jordan’s only quarterback and only Cowboys player, a company spokesman confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. In total, Jordan has 18 NFL players, including three-time Pro Bowl receiver Michael Thomas, seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner and the 2021 fourth overall draft pick, tight end Kyle Pitts.

Prescott is the highest-paid of the bunch, a person with knowledge of the terms told USA TODAY Sports, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose financial details. But finances didn’t primarily dictate the brand pivot for a quarterback entering the first season of a four-year, $160 million Cowboys contract that includes $126 million guaranteed. 

Rather, joining Jordan Brand’s roster signaled a status Prescott hopes his on-field play will justify. The union also unlocks opportunities to partner off it.

‘50% of the reason’

As a basketball fan and viewer of ESPN’s docuseries “The Last Dance” in 2020, Prescott counts himself among the many athletes who consider Jordan the gold standard. 

“Be ‘Like Mike,’” Prescott said, describing his 2021 mindset as he returns to the field from a gruesome ankle injury. “When he stepped in the gym, you weren’t going to outwork him. You weren’t going to beat him in sprints. That’s something I hang my hat on: (that) I’ll never be outworked.  

“I’m not only trying to compete. I’m trying to chase championships as he did.” 

The chance to associate with Jordan spoke to Prescott. The timing, it turned out, was opportune. 

Prescott spent the first five seasons of his professional career (and the five prior via alma mater Mississippi State) in Adidas swag. As his contract neared expiration this offseason, Prescott entertained offers from Adidas, Nike and Jordan Brand, his marketing agent Peter Miller said.

Jordan Brand’s creative capabilities caught Prescott's eye. A clause in his contract with Jordan Brand explicitly allows for collaborative apparel creation between Jordan Brand, Prescott’s D4K brand and the Cowboys – whose decision to opt out of the league merchandising deal gives the team unusual flexibility. 

“The fact he’d have opportunities with the Jordan apparel and product teams and with the Cowboys was really unique to us,” Miller told USA TODAY Sports. “The future can be really fruitful and, frankly, an untapped opportunity.” 

COWBOYS: LB Jaylon Smith cites LeBron, Michael Jordan on how he’ll rebound from criticism


Video: 'Probably 50% of the reason': Here's why Dak Prescott chose the Jordan Brand (USA TODAY)

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