Nike can’t offer everyone their own signature shoe and a massive pay out, so that leaves the door open for competitors like Adidas and Under Armour to entice athletes to jump ship. This summer, Adidas did just that when they lured James Harden from Nike with a massive 13 year deal that officially began on October 1st. It would be difficult for anyone to say no to $200 million and a shoe/apparel line.
As of now, Harden will average $16.78 million on the final three years of his deal with the Rockets and $15.38 million annually from Adidas. But if Harden hits certain benchmarks, it’s possible he will earn more annually from Adidas than the Rockets.
Harden now has the opportunity to join the ranks of those making more from their shoe deal than their employer. This comes at a time when Nike is slated to become the official apparel supplier of the NBA beginning the 2016-17 season (previously Adidas) and Under Armour passed Adidas up as the the 2nd largest seller of apparel. Does James Harden have the star power and enough celebrity appeal to lead Adidas in reclaiming market share and increasing sales?
Adidas seems to think so. The hefty price they paid to roster the NBA’s MVP runner-up, and the truck full of shoes they delivered to his house, would suggest they are all in.