The 'Ceiling is the Roof' Jordan quote has spawned a thriving T-shirt business

The Dagger
North Carolina’s mascot, Rameses, was rocking a shirt riffing off <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/263612/" data-ylk="slk:Michael Jordan">Michael Jordan</a>’s “The Ceiling is the Roof” quote at Thursday’s UNC game. (Getty)
North Carolina’s mascot, Rameses, was rocking a shirt riffing off Michael Jordan’s “The Ceiling is the Roof” quote at Thursday’s UNC game. (Getty)

People are embracing the fact that the ceiling is the roof.

After Michael Jordan declared that was the case as the mic-drop at the end of his halftime speech at the UNC vs. Duke basketball game last week, Twitter wasted no time asking for apparel with the quote and the Jordan brand wasted no time in taking full advantage of the business opportunity.

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It gave out T-shirts that read, “ CEILING. ROOF. GOAT.” to the marching band and mascot during UNC’s Thursday ACC Tournament game. ESPN’s Darren Rovell says that soon, the shirts will be available to the public at retail locations yet to be disclosed.

But Jordan’s brand wasn’t the only one with the idea of embracing Jordan’s spin on “the sky is the limit.” Several spinoff versions of the shirt popped up within hours of Jordan’s halftime speech. Ryan Cocca, an alumnus of UNC and founder of Thrill City, a clothing brand based in Durham, North Carolina, also saw a business opportunity.

“I had been toying with the idea of putting new designs up,” Cocca told Yahoo. “And when I saw that [Jordan quote] happened I was like, ‘This is the thing. This is the moment to make something because it is so relevant.’ ”

Thrill City’s take on “the ceiling is the roof” t-shirts. Photo courtesy of Ryan Cocca.
Thrill City’s take on “the ceiling is the roof” t-shirts. Photo courtesy of Ryan Cocca.

Thrill City started as a small operation out of Cocca’s dorm room, but it grew into a full-scale operation with a small shop on Franklin Street. The store officially closed its doors in 2015, in part because Cocca’s business partner moved backed to London after his student visa expired. Cocca clarifies that he isn’t reopening the store, but he couldn’t pass up on designing a shirt based on Jordan’s remarks.

Cocca finished the designs at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday. By Monday night, Cocca says he had $12,000 worth of orders.

“It showed me the power of Michael Jordan,” Cocca said. “I don’t know the exact numbers, but last time with the SCAM [shirts] it was on Deadspin, Yahoo, Bleacher Report, ESPN2 … I don’t think that that did the sales that this one has done. It was everywhere and this [Jordan shirt] has sold better.”

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