The match made in sports marketing heaven has been a marriage like any other, for better or for worse.

Most prominent among the rough spots were the reports that Nike used sweatshops in Indonesia. In 1996, human-rights and labor advocates demanded that Nike improve pay and conditions for its workers.

Nike said it subcontracted its work and had no control over how the workers were treated, although it said it had tried to improve conditions.

But Michael Jordan only fueled the fire with a response that infuriated his critics.

During the 1996 NBA Finals, when asked about the alleged abuse of child workers, Jordan said: “I think that’s Nike’s decision to do what they can to make sure everything is correctly done. I don’t know the complete situation. Why should I? I’m trying to do my job.”

No matter how many press releases Nike churned out to document the millions invested in continuing education and low-interest loans in those underprivileged countries, Jordan, as Nike’s biggest attraction, remained the focal point of criticism.

Likewise, many consider Jordan’s iconic Jumpman as a symbol for greed in sports. Jordan’s Hall of Fame exhibit already has been panned for having too much Nike, not enough Mike.

To those most critical of Jordan, every shoe sold under his name takes him one step further from his social responsibility.

Howard White, vice president of marketing for Jordan Brand, and those close to Jordan have heard the charge often — and scoff every time.

“You always hear Michael doesn’t give back to the community,” White said with a sigh. “But to me he makes some of the boldest social statements in the world: show up for work, be on time and be accountable for your job.”

Jordan’s success also created unexpected consequences.

The unprecedented annual demand for each new design of the Air Jordan sneakers elevated the shoes to such status symbols in many American cities that youths were using any means to get a pair, including violence. Fame had never felt so conflicting to Jordan than when he considered kids were literally dying to wear his shoes.

“People started robbing each other for the shoes, and it bothered him,” said Tinker Hatfield, Nike’s vice president of innovation and the primary designer for the Air Jordan line. “We were all sad, but it was much more a comment on materialism and people not respecting life. There was something else in our society driving that behavior so we never felt guilty or responsible or thought we would dial back and do less cool stuff, and Michael was adamant about that.”