After thinking about it for 10 days, Nike has declined to match the 13-year, 0 million deal Adidas offered James Harden.
Although missing out on a spokesman of Harden’s caliber is far from ideal from Nike’s perspective, it is a bigger gain for Adidas than it is a loss for Nike. Harden, who was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets in October 2012, has a combined $50.3 million remaining in the final three seasons of his contract with the Rockets. The decision to move on from Harden was undoubtedly a tough one for Nike, who saw Steph Curry move on to UA and have an incredible break-out season and help the Baltimore brand move up the ranks and actually surpass German brand adidas.
Harden will earn more money from the Adidas deal than what seven-time National Basketball Association All Star Tracy McGrady and eleven-time National Basketball Association All Star Allen Iverson made throughout their respective careers from on-court earnings.
The Washington Wizards’ John Wall, Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose and Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves are the other Adidas headliners of this modern era. More recently, Under Armour announced its own global marketing partnership with the NBA, which positions the brand as a title partner and outfitter of the NBA Draft Combine, presenting partner of the Junior NBA program in the U.S. and allows Under Armour to work with the league to launch an NBA FIT mobile application.
According to TMZ, the fact that Harden’s girlfriend Khloe Kardashins sported bright coral floral Adidas jacket gear with a huge logo of the brand on her back at Drew League game this weekend signifies that Harden will hook up with Adidas. “His addition to the adidas basketball family is a game changer”, said Chris Grancio, adidas Global Basketball General Manager, via a press release. He’s already one of the most recognizable sports figures because of his game, his look, his hunger to win and his style on and off the court. Adidas went all in with the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard in May, giving him a deal that could be worth more than $100 million and has an eight-year base in terms of length. The partnership includes Harden traveling on what Adidas calls “extensive brand tours” in Europe and Asia. He’s one of the top players in the game right now. He did not have a signature shoe line with Nike.