Nike reportedly sued over use of Jordan ‘Jumpman’ logo

The 'Jumpman' logo, seen here on Michael Jordan's hat, represents Nike's Jordan brand on sneakers and apparel.

Brian Spurlock/Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

You only have to see it for a second, and you know who it is — Michael Jordan. 

Featured on a variety of Nike apparel and sneakers since 1987,  the famous Jordan "Jumpman" — a silhouette of the NBA legend mid-dunk– has grown into one of the most recognizable logos in all of sports. Jordan first signed with Nike in 1984 in a five-year, $2.5 million deal. 

But now, according to an ESPN report, a photographer who inspired the logo is suing Nike for copyright infringement and asking for profits associated with the Jordan brand, which brought in a whopping $3.2 billion last year.

The photographer, Jacobus Rentmeester, claims the logo originated from his photo of Jordan in his Olympic warm-ups in 1984 for an issue of Life Magazine, the report states. Rentmeester says he was paid $150 by Nike’s Peter Moore — who designed the first Air Jordans — for the temporary use of his slides.

The suit alleges Rentmeester actually directed Jordan to pose that way, and that he, not Life Magazine, remained the owner of the image.

"Mr. Rentmeester created the pose, inspired by a ballet technique known as a ‘grand jete,’ a long horizontal jump during which a dancer performs splits in mid-air," the lawsuit says. "The pose, while conceived to make it appear that Mr. Jordan was in the process of a dunk, was not reflective of Mr. Jordan’s natural jump or dunking style."

A Nike spokesman told The Associated Press that the company is not commenting on the lawsuit.

Until this gets straightened out, let’s enjoy watching Jordan show off that famous pose in the 1988 dunk contest: