Local man sues Jordan, Nike for resemblance
06:01 PM PDT on Thursday, July 6, 2006
By PAT DOORIS for kgw.com
A Northeast Portland man is suing basketball superstar Michael Jordan and Nike founder Phil Knight for a combined $832 million. Allen Heckard filed the suit himself, June 29th in Washington County Court. Heckard says he’s been mistaken as Michael Jordan nearly every day over the past 15 years and he’s tired of it.
“I'm constantly being accused of looking like Michael and it makes it very uncomfortable for me,” said Heckard.
Heckard is suing Jordan for defamation and permanent injury and emotional pain and suffering. He’s suing Knight for defamation and permanent injury for promoting Jordan and making him one of the most recognized men in the world.
Heckard stands just over six feet tall. He is not six foot six like the real Michael Jordan. But Heckard says many people seem to miss that. He does share a bit of resemblance to the real Michael Jordan. Heckard has a shaved head, an earring in his left ear, and is in good shape from working out, and yes, playing basketball.
“Even when I go to the gym I'm being accused of playing ball like him (Jordan), said Heckard."
Most people would consider that a high compliment.
"Yes...don’t get me wrong it’s definitely a positive thing, because Michael, like I say is one of the best ball players that I've known to play the game. But then again, that's Michael and I'm me. So I want to be recognized as me just like Michael's being recognized as Michael."
Dressed in blue Air Jordan tennis shoes, Heckard might seem to be actually trying to look like Jordan but Heckard doesn’t see it that way.
"They're very comfortable shoes to play ball in,” said Heckard. “I play a lot of basketball and any other shoes I try to play in tend to hurt the bottom of my feet."
“I got a right to buy Nike or Adidas or what ever, so I chose the Nike because its a good shoe for me to play ball in,” he said.
Heckard agreed that not everyone thinks he’s a famous basketball player, but insisted a lot of people do mistake him for Jordan.
"I figure if I'm out in public and around a lot of people at least three or four times out of a crowd ...and like I was at the Blues Festival and you could see people they was pointing at me," he said.
Some might wonder how he decided to sue Knight and Jordan for $416-million each. "Well, you figure with my age and you multiply that times seven and ah, then I turn around and ah I figure that's what it all boils down to."
The question remains – is the occasional confusion with an admired celebrity worth $800 million.
“Well,” said Heckard, “You never can put a value on a person's life. You know you're taking my lifestyle away from me. So you know...we'll let the ball bounce like Michael does...where it’s supposed to fall."
They don't even look a like.