Houston Rockets star James Harden just landed one of the richest endorsement deals in pro basketball history. The 25-year-old will sign a 13-year, $200 million endorsement deal with the Adidas sports apparel brand after current endorser Nike declined to match the offer, a report said Thursday.
Harden’s contract with Adidas begins on Oct. 1, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported. The agreement calls for Harden to wear his signature Adidas basketball sneakers during NBA games and other brand apparel away from the court. The three-time NBA All-Star will also receive his own line of sports gear.
“We’re a brand of creators, and James embodies that more than any athlete in the game. His addition to the Adidas basketball family is a game changer,” Chris Grancio, Adidas’ global basketball manager, said in a statement to ESPN. "This partnership gives him the opportunity to achieve his goals and express himself in a totally new way as a creator. 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. His ceiling is far from reached, which tells you the future for him and our brand looks incredible."
Adidas’ offer to Harden surpassed the 14-year, $185 million deal Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose signed with the company in 2012. The sports apparel brand also has endorsement deals with Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
Harden has three years remaining on a five-year, $78 million contract he signed with the Rockets before the 2013-14 NBA season. If his Adidas line meets certain sales benchmarks, Harden could earn more money from his shoe deal than from his on-court efforts, ESPN noted.
Even with its loss of Harden, Nike boasts shoe deals with basketball legend Michael Jordan and Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James. The Oregon-based company gave Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant a 10-year, $300 million endorsement deal after Under Armour tried to lure him away earlier this year, the Oregonian reported.
Nike continues to dominate competitors Adidas and Under Armour in the United States basketball sneaker market, with an estimated 90 percent market share.