He is a spokesman for chocolate milk and an obscure — in the U.S. anyway — Chinese shoe company. He signed an $80 million, 10-year extension to wear the sneakers. “Life’s good,” Thompson said. “I never thought I’d get paid millions of dollars to wear shoes and apparel. I’m very proud to be a part of Anta. … It’s so cool that I’m big in China. I never thought I’d be on billboards and posters in China.”
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Giannis Antetokounmpo: Family. Loyalty. Legacy. Excited to announce my long-term partnership with @NikeBasketball #FamilyOverEverything #Antetokoumbros #OnAMission @thanasis_ante43 @kostas__ante13 @alex_ante29 @francisadetokunbo
Just as LeBron has been chasing Michael Jordan’s ghost as the game’s preeminent icon, Antetokounmpo is drawing comparisons to James — on the court, at least. Though Antetokounmpo is starting to realize that his exceptional talent makes him a marketable product, his inclinations as a professional thus far bear little resemblance to LeBron Inc. Antetokounmpo will almost certainly be on a first name basis with the public — as much a function of syllables as stardom — but there are few entrepreneurial ambitions. At a recent round of meetings with leading shoe companies, representatives pitched Antetokounmpo by citing their campaigns and brand-building for other NBA stars. Antetokounmpo, according to those with intimate knowledge of the meetings, found the approach perplexing. These stars were his competitors, and the notion of using their brands or personas as a template seemed backward.
Me: I wanted to ask you about your shoe deal with Li Ning, and how you researched that before you decided. What was important to you? CJ McCollum: A lot of things were important. I think the biggest thing is going somewhere where you’re wanted and needed. I always say that mutual admiration. It’s kind of how I chose Lehigh, and Lehigh chose me. It was a situation where we both felt like we could help each other, help one another, them being a big brand in a place like Asia, having that big influence and being able to help them branch out to the United States — more specifically, Portland, Oregon, and Canton, Ohio, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Obviously those cities will become more familiar with the brand.
CJ McCollum: Overall, I’m thankful for the opportunity. As a kid growing up in Canton, Ohio, you never see yourself in a position to play in the NBA, much less have somebody pay you to wear shoes. It’s a blessing in itself. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to represent a brand, and hopefully reach out and gain more information on them, and them gain more information on players in the United States, and little kids. Guys like DWade and ET (Evan Turner), guys who’ve been in the brand before me, have been very helpful telling me about the brand, and informing me on ways to improve. Telling me about what China’s going to be like, having gone there in the past. I’m looking forward to it.
Jovan Buha: Big Baller Brand is debuting the “ZO2 Collection” apparel line for Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball today at ComplexCon in Long Beach, Calif. According to the company, the “ZO2 Collection” is the first line of Big Baller Brand products to be offered wholesale to retailers. Up to this point, all Big Brand Brand products have been sold exclusively on BigBallerBrand.com.
Jovan Buha: Big Baller Brand is still in negotiation with retailers, so they can’t speak on any potential partnerships yet, according to the company. The “ZO2 Collection” will feature a mix of activewear and street wear, including shirts, jeans, plaid flannels, track pants and joggers.
After receiving strong interest from several footwear brands, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine has agreed to terms with Adidas on a four-year endorsement deal that could be worth as much as $35 million, industry sources told ESPN.
LaVine, 22, has yet to play this season as he recovers from a torn left ACL suffered in February, but hopes to be the future face of both the Bulls franchise and the Adidas brand. “I was looking for a partner that would grow with me as my career continues to unfold,” LaVine said to ESPN. “Adidas convinced me that I have a chance to legitimately become a face of the brand.”
The deal is also structured in a way to reward LaVine, a two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion who averaged 18.9 points a game last season with the Timberwolves, should he break out as an All-Star level player once he returns from the injury. “It’s a different contract than anything we’ve done recently,” said a brand source.
Financial details aside, McCollum was looking for a brand that would feature him and allow him to be involved in curating his own products going forward. Outside of creating his own custom colorways of Kyrie Irving’s shoe on Nike’s iD website from time to time, developing his own product would be all new territory for the rising guard, who was named the league’s Most Improved Player in 2015. “I didn’t know much about it at all, honestly,” McCollum said of sneaker deals when he was first drafted. “Watching from afar, and being a fan from afar, I didn’t necessarily understand the negotiating side of it and the contract structure of how players go from rookie deals to the next deal. As you go through the NBA, you get a decent understanding of it.”
McCollum also got advice from Blazers teammate Evan Turner, who has a long-term deal with Li-Ning and happens to sit directly next to McCollum in the Blazers’ locker room. “I just kept it real with him, what I liked about the brand and how I thought we could get better,” Turner said. “As his star was rising, I told him I thought it’d be advantageous for him to partner with an up-and-coming brand.”
Nick DePaula: Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood has agreed to a multi-year shoe deal extension with Nike.
Nick DePaula: Raptors All-Star guard @DeMar DeRozan agreed to a multi-year shoe deal extension with Nike before the season, and will wear custom Kobe sneakers all year. Good look at his grey/red Kobe AD PE tonight: pic.twitter.com/FJYh3tGOLd
Wasserman NBA agents completed more than half a billion dollars in playing contracts and shoe deals for clients in recent months. That number includes about $250 million in shoe contracts, including Phoenix Suns rookie forward Josh Jackson’s deal with Under Armour, which was announced before he was taken No. 4 in the draft.
They were not the only Warriors here mixing preseason basketball with the business of basketball. All-Star guard Klay Thompson has his eight-year, $80 million shoe deal with Anta, a Chinese-based company that hosted his promotional event in Shenzhen. All-Star forward Draymond Green is sponsored by Nike as well, though he turned his attention to the cap company, New Era, for a Friday event in Shanghai. “When we come over here and we have guys go to practice and they leave and say, ‘I’ve got a Nike event over here, and I’ve got an Under Armour event over here,’ ” Curry told USA TODAY Sports. “You just respect what everybody is doing, and we all have the space to impact people.”
When Curry isn’t wrestling for space in China with Bryant, he is burying the notion that a burgeoning shoe war with Durant could impact the Warriors’ harmony. “This world is huge, and there’s enough space for all of us,” Curry said during the trip that concluded on Sunday. “We’re all different. We’re all unique. We all have different stories, and we try to bring that to life with the things we represent from a product standpoint, and a brand standpoint. “(The idea of) whether it’s a competition, or this kind of inner locker room rivalry, or a battle of whose shoes are the most popular and all that kind of stuff, it’s not.”
CJ McCollum and Li-Ning announced Friday that the 6-4 guard out of Lehigh had signed a multi-year endorsement deal to join the Chinese sportswear company. McCollum, who was previously with Nike, now joins the likes of Dwyane Wade and teammate Evan Turner as NBA athletes under the Li-Ning umbrella.
CJ McCollum: I’m excited to announce my new parternship with the Li-Ning family. With hard work.. Anything is possible
Nick DePaula: Blazers guard @CJ McCollum confirms he’s signed a multi-year shoe deal with Chinese brand Li-Ning. Nike had “matching rights” and declined to match. CJ will wear the YuShuai 11 and other Li-Ning sneakers this season.
Nick DePaula: CJ McCollum’s Blazers teammate Evan Turner has been with Li-Ning since his rookie year and helped recruit and inform CJ about the brand. Other Li-Ning NBA athletes include Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Glenn Robinson III & Frank Mason III.
Nick DePaula: If Giannis signs with adidas, Nike still has a “match clause” on the deal. If they pass, he’d likely wear Crazy Explosive Low this season.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is spending the week walking through brand pitches from companies looking to position him as the future of basketball — a sharp rise for a 22-year-old player who only entered the league in 2013 as an unknown prospect from Greece.
In conversations this week with Adidas, Nike and Li-Ning, each is offering a signature shoe that would likely launch during the 2018-19 NBA season. For this upcoming year, he’d lead a series of player exclusive editions in Bucks hues of each brand’s current featured models, like the Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017, Nike Kobe A.D. or Li-Ning Yu Shuai 11.
While the incumbent Nike and potentially poaching Adidas are the two mainstays in the conversation, Chinese brand Li-Ning remains a dark horse to take seriously. The company’s last major signing was then-Heat superstar Dwyane Wade in the fall of 2012, but it’s looking to refresh and re-energize its roster of athletes. The offer the company is expected to make would certainly rank highest among the three pursuing brands at more than eight figures annually. The contract could also possibly feature an equity or stock component.
Russell Westbrook, the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player, will look to continue to establish himself as one of the league’s top global superstars, inking a 10-year extension with Nike’s Jordan Brand that will be the most lucrative total endorsement deal for a Jordan athlete to date, according to industry sources. After first signing a five-year endorsement deal in 2013, Westbrook has been positioned as the face of the brand and the annual Air Jordan model each subsequent season. During that stretch, he also elevated his game yearly as the franchise point guard of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As he meets with brands over the coming weeks, LaVine is expected to decide on his next endorsement partner by the end of the month, eventually starting the 10-day clock for Nike to decide whether or not to match the contract offer. “For the next phase of his career, Zach is looking for an organic partnership where the brand’s belief and vision is genuine and aligned with his,” Namakian said. “He wants to be a creative and engaged partner working together in continuing to grow his brand globally.”
After spending his first three seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, an offseason move to the Chicago Bulls could see Zach LaVine cash in as he looks for a new sneaker-endorsement deal heading into the 2017-18 season. The deal LaVine signed with Nike as a rookie expires at the end of this month, and the move to Chicago meant an overnight rise in intrigue from a handful of brands looking to sign him even as he recovers from February surgery to repair a torn ACL. “The interest in Zach from a brand perspective was instantly raised when he went from being the third option in a small market to the primary option in a legacy market,” said Nima Namakian, LaVine’s agent at BDA Sports.
However, Nike is expected to aggressively look to make its own initial offer in the coming weeks to retain LaVine. Adidas, looking to retool its roster of NBA players and add more explosive wing players, is also interested in signing LaVine, who wore adidas sneakers while at UCLA. Known by fans in China for his two instant classic NBA Slam Dunk Contest performances, LaVine has also emerged as the top target of Chinese brands Li-Ning, Anta and Peak. “He’s the only player we’ll pitch this year,” said one brand source in China.
At the time, the brand had hoped that Timberwolves rising phenom Andrew Wiggins could fill that role, but internally there has been strong hesitation about whether Wiggins could carry his own signature shoe. Antetokounmpo’s game is already more established and more accomplished, leading the company to look at making a massive offer that could steal him away from Nike. Adidas is enjoying momentum in other categories as a brand and hasn’t been shy in offering monster deals in the past to its top priorities, such as the 13-year deal to Harden and the seven-year contract to Porzingis.
With his adidas deal, Mitchell joins a growing stable of very young, very cool players like Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray, Kris Dunn, Jaylen Brown, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, James Harden and Damian Lillard. Considering he didn’t even think he would be in the NBA at this point, the fact that he’s got a sneaker deal is another milestone that came way quicker than anticipated. “When my agents and I were talking about the sneaker deal, I thought it was going to be the typical agent meeting where they promise you a shoe deal and you’re like, Alright, I’m not that good, this is for guys who are big-time,” says Mitchell. “So when it happened, I was like, Wow, you were right, it did happen! It was a no-brainer going with adidas and I’m blessed and happy to be in this position and hope to keep representing them for a long period of time.”
Antetokounmpo’s days as a bargain are numbered, and not just because his 4-year, $100 million extension with the Bucks kicks in this fall. Once September comes to a close, his current footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Nike is set to expire, making him the clear-cut headliner of the available NBA players looking for a new shoe deal heading into next season.
“The bar was set with Porzingis, in terms of financials,” says one brand source. Some industry sources feel the Greek Freak could be looking at as much as $7-10 million annually on a new five-year endorsement deal.
His jersey’s got the Swoosh … but Lonzo Ball says he’s still a BBB guy at heart — and the proof is on his feet. The L.A. Lakers rookie was at an NBA rookie photo shoot with teammate, Kyle Kuzma, when they started showing off their new Lakers uniforms, made by Nike.
Jeff Zillgitt: Under Armour makes deal with Dennis Smith Jr. official via press release. Company says Smith’s attributes align with UA Basketball.
The most marketable NBA players are typically guards. Players with the ball in their hands — explosive attackers with an endless flair to their game. As kids look up to and spend endless hours in front-yard hoops emulating their every move, brands are left constantly looking for the next great athletes who can translate into equally great endorsers. Dennis Smith Jr. checks all of those boxes, leading Under Armour to sign the Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard and No. 9 overall 2017 draft pick to a three-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal worth as much as $2 million per year with incentives, according to sources. The brand plans to incorporate him immediately as one of its key featured basketball players right out the gate.
“The first time that I saw Dennis Smith at camp was when Stephen ran out of the gym after he tried to dunk on somebody,” Stone said with a laugh. “Dennis got so high — his elbow was at the rim. It was unbelievable. That was my first time experiencing what Dennis can bring to the table in terms of explosiveness. The reaction that Stephen had was ridiculous. Stephen was coming off of an MVP season and an NBA championship, and here he is, watching a high school kid own the moment and respecting it.”
If Lonzo Ball had been interested in signing a traditional endorsement deal, brands were expected to initially offer at least $1.5 million per year. That would be in line with offers made to fellow rookies Markelle Fultz, De’Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson. After being drafted by the Lakers as the second overall pick, Ball’s base number realistically could have escalated to more than $2.5 million per year, according to multiple brand sources.
After each stateside brand passed on expressing interest, Big Baller Brand engaged China-based athletic brand Anta to discuss a potential partnership. Anta currently has traditional sponsorship deals with Klay Thompson and Rajon Rondo, and made signature shoes for Kevin Garnett for his final seven seasons in the league. After a “round of conversations,” according to a source, Anta declined repeated requests for a follow-up meeting after Big Baller Brand presented them with a private label manufacturing concept.
Since launching the $495 pre-order edition of the ZO2 sneaker, along with an autographed $995 “collector’s edition,” Big Baller Brand is on the hook to both manufacture and deliver the shoe to customers by the Nov. 24 promised ship date. More than 700 pairs have already been ordered. All things considered — sky-high price, six-month shipping delay, brand that has never before made a shoe — it’s a respectable number that beat out the expectations of several rival industry sources.
Asked whether there’s still a chance that a big shoe brand can sign his son Lonzo Ball, LaVar responded: “If the price is right. Quite frankly we are officially in the shoe game, and are a billion dollar brand either way.”
In negotiations with the big brands — Nike, adidas and Under Armour — LaVar made it known that he was looking for $1 billion and wanted those brands to sublicense his Big Baller Brand. The shoe brands quickly passed. Days later, the first Big Baller Brand shoes launched on the company website. Industry sources indicate that a deal for Ball from the traditional companies originally fell in the $1.5 million a year range. Playing on the Lakers, plus the power of his holdout, could boost that up over $2 million a year.
Klay Thompson has signed a 10-year extension with Chinese shoe brand Anta that will pay him as much as $80 million, according to a report from Nice Kicks. Thompson originally signed his deal in 2014 for $2 million per year until 2020 but renegotiated the terms.
“I didn’t know much about Anta,” Thompson said on the podcast Nice Kicks Cast. “One of my agent’s client’s, Rajon (Rondo) was with them, and he said this brand had incredible potential and that the Chinese market, as well, was something that I could really dive into. “Knowing that these guys got my back and they want me to be a lifer, that’s special. Not a lot of guys sign shoe deals like this. I’m very, very happy to be with Anta.”
Nick DePaula: Exclusive: Klay Thompson signs 10-year extension with Anta worth up to $80 Million, making him a Top10 NBA endorser
LI Shuangfu: Anta extends its endorsement contract through 2026-27 season with Klay Thompson, sources told Lanxiong Sports.
Josh Jackson has signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour. Under Armour, home of Stephen Curry most notably, last signed a major draft prospect in 2015 with Emmanuel Mudiay.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Potential No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz has agreed to a multi-year endorsement deal with Nike, source tells @TheVertical.
The “Greek Freak” kicks of a new four-year, $100 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks next season. Antetokounmpo will also likely be armed with a new shoe deal. He is by far the hottest free agent this summer in the sneaker market and insiders think he could command a deal of at least $8 million annually and potentially over $10 million if everything breaks right. Credit his age, 22, and unique skill set, which has made him one of the NBA’s most alluring young stars.
The headline numbers on new shoe deals are often inflated and include bonuses and optimistic royalty payouts. The yearly guarantees are often much lower and can include reductions if sales tank. Below is a breakdown of Forbes’ estimates on what the NBA’s biggest stars—past, present and future—earned on their shoe deals over the past 12 months, including bonuses and royalties, based on conversations with industry insiders. Michael Jordan: $110 million, Nike (Jordan) Jordan hung up his high-tops for the third and final time in 2003, but he is still the king of the basketball shoe market. Sales of the Air Jordan XXXI have been soft, but the retro Jordan business remains strong. Nike’s Jordan revenues were $2.8 billion for the fiscal year ending May 2016, up 18% over the previous 12 months. Jordan’s net worth is $1.3 billion. Thanks Nike.
LeBron James: $32 million, Nike King James has talked about wanting to be a billionaire. Nike should help him get there someday. James entered the NBA in 2003 armed with the biggest shoe deal ever handed out to a rookie. The seven-year deal eventually paid out more than $100 million. Interestingly, James’ agent at the time, Aaron Goodwin, also negotiated the second-biggest rookie shoe deal ever with Kevin Durant’s 2007 pact.
Nick DePaula: Lottery pick De’Aaron Fox has agreed to a multi-year shoe deal with Nike, sources tell @TheVertical. The UK PG was a top target for brands.
Those stars waited until they were stars to cut out the middleman. But already LaVar’s called out: the shoe companies, the NCAA, AAU basketball teams run by shoe companies, retail stores taking a cut of shoe and merchandise sales — basically all the gatekeepers of the world he’s trying (to conquer. Is he trying to change the system or work it? That might not matter, as long as at least one of his sons lives up to the hype he’s created for them. “People don’t understand the movement,” he says. “This is a power play to show everybody, ‘Yo, we don’t need you to make this s — .'”
Nick DePaula: Jordan Brand has signed Guo Ailun, its first ever Chinese Basketball Association endorser. Will pay the 23 year-old PG over $1.4 Mil per yr. pic.twitter.com/AhFesRO11Z
Jeff Goodman: Potential No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz is meeting with adidas today, source told ESPN.
Former two-time NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury is still selling his Starbury shoes in stores in China and online in America starting at $14.98 after originally joining forces with the now-defunct Steve & Barry’s sporting goods store in 2006. If LaVar Ball, father of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball, hopes to get his Big Baller Brand going without the help of the major shoe companies, Marbury could offer some advice. “I would listen to what [LaVar Ball] had to say, definitely, if he called,” Marbury told The Undefeated from China. “It’s the delivery, that’s all. Sometimes people can’t accept the delivery. But I understand, because it’s his own feelings. I don’t agree with everything that he is saying, but I understand what he is saying.”
Ball has said that he would reach out to Chinese brands. What advice would you give to him? Marbury: Come rock with us. We know the structure that is needed. We don’t have the capital, but with my brand we have the resources for what is needed from the manufacturing side in China. He doesn’t have to do something with Starbury. We could work together where we can help put them into the position to speak to all the people who have that access to do what they want in China. I’m not saying I want him to come under my umbrella and be with Starbury, but I can position them by setting them up with the people that they need to speak to in order to create their infrastructure if they want to infuse capital into themselves.
LaVar Ball’s attempts to score a lucrative licensing deal between Big Baller Brand and Nike, Adidas or Under Armour have not worked out heading into the NBA draft. So, as of right now, Lonzo — a potential top-3 pick — is without a shoe deal from any of the three brands that control 99 percent of the NBA shoe market. LaVar isn’t worried though. On Tuesday, LaVar snapped back to the criticism his brand has received with a tweet on his newly verified Twitter account.
Lavar Ball: Haters gonna hate, but BBB gonna be great. 💯💯💯
Adidas, which sponsored UCLA this past season along with the Chino Hills (Calif.) High School basketball team that features younger Ball brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo, has yet to formally discuss a shoe deal with Ball Sports Group. “It’s not dead yet,” a brand source told The Vertical. An official meeting would potentially take place in the coming weeks, with the brand not yet ruling out making a standard endorsement offer.
One of the players expected to be drafted at the very top of the board is UCLA star freshman point guard Lonzo Ball. He is represented by Harrison Gaines as part of the newly formed Ball Sports Group. Gaines is a former employee at Impact Sports, where he worked alongside primary agents on contracts for NBA players Kawhi Leonard and Will Barton. Ball is also being represented in brand negotiations by Ball Sports Group’s founder – his outspoken father, LaVar – sources told The Vertical.
Lonzo has received preliminary interest over the past year from the three current major sneaker brands outfitting NBA players: Nike, adidas and Under Armour. None of the brands have expressed a direct interest in LaVar’s “co-branding partnership” concept, which would license the family’s Big Baller Brand for Lonzo’s footwear to then be manufactured by a partner, multiple industry sources told The Vertical.
An endorsement deal with Nike, Under Armour or Adidas is not in the cards for Lonzo Ball. Ball’s father LaVar confirmed that the three shoe and apparel companies informed him that they were not interested in doing a deal with his son. Sources with the three companies told ESPN.com that they indeed were moving on.
Now that the traditional shoe companies are out, Ball said he will reach out to the Chinese brands, which include Peak, Li-Ning and Anta, and he’s not counting out taking on an entrepreneurial partner outside the business.
Never in the history of modern day shoe endorsements have the big companies all stepped away from a potential top pick nearly two months before the NBA draft. But the proposition that LaVar, who has been representing Lonzo on the deal, was offering also has no precedence.
In his meetings with the three, LaVar insisted that the company license his upstart Big Baller Brand from him. He also showed the companies a shoe prototype that he hoped would be Lonzo’s first shoe. “We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”
Ball would not disclose how big the Big Baller Brand has become — the company sells hats and t-shirts ranging from $38 to $100 on its website — but he said that current sales numbers shouldn’t have been on the mind of the shoe companies. “When Facebook bought Whatsapp for $19 billion, those guys weren’t profitable,” LaVar said.
Knight also said he has no qualms about Lonzo’s father, LaVar, seeking $1 billion in exchange for a shoe and apparel deal for Lonzo and LaVar Ball’s two younger brothers. “If he can get it, get it,’’ Knight said. But apparently the Balls won’t be getting that $1 billion from Nike. “It’s a little steep,’’ said Knight, and of Lonzo Ball he added, ““He’s an awfully great player. Yeah, we have an interest.”
Adidas offered a footwear and apparel endorsement deal worth $3 million annually for five years, sources told The Vertical, which was on par with several of the game’s top non-signature All-Stars. It would also guarantee Lin international marketing, product input, basketball camps, appearance tours and special releases in Asia.
As his second season with the Houston Rockets was getting underway in 2013, Lin was set to become a sneaker free agent for the first time in his career. His deal with Nike was slated to expire, offering the chance to sign his most lucrative endorsement deal. China-based brand Li-Ning desperately wanted to sign him, and Nike was looking to utilize its contract “match rights” to a certain threshold. But it was adidas that made the strongest play, landing Lin with the highest investment and a platform to create. Adidas offered a footwear and apparel endorsement deal worth $2 million annually for five years, sources told The Vertical, which was on par with several of the game’s top non-signature All-Stars. It would also guarantee Lin international marketing, product input, basketball camps, appearance tours and special releases in Asia.
“I just wanted to go with a company that really represented my style and my personality. Adidas really gave me the opportunity to be creative,” Lin told The Vertical. “They also showed that they really cared about who I was as a player, and when they do that, it makes the stories, the shoes and what they design more powerful and have more meaning.”
Nick DePaula: Matt Barnes is now a shoe free agent and has been wearing his new Warriors teammate Kevin Durant’s Nike KD9. pic.twitter.com/yF6GxjW0Cq
Deseret News: How did your shoe deal come about? Jimmer Fredette: My father-in-law works for (361 Degrees International) in the U.S. so that’s how I got contact with them at first and then my agent Chris took it from there. It’s been a great relationship so far and hope for a (long-term) partnership.
Paul George: From Palmdale! God you made this happen! #PG1 instagram.com/p/BPDm5YEAbOV/
Scott Agness: Paul George will debut his first signature shoe Thursday in London. #PG1 will cost $110. pic.twitter.com/VB3Le8slfB
Part of what makes Wall so good is his edge. It manifests in competitive ways like how Wall — one of the most the refreshingly honest players you’ll find — will never wear the shoes of an opposing point guard. He’s a sneaker free agent, banking on himself to have a great season and letting that dictate his next step, and so this year he’s been rocking colorful Kobe 11s. But you won’t catch him in the new Kyrie 3s. “I don’t wear nobody else’s, that’s just me . . . nothing against them because I’m cool with Kyrie,” Wall said. “I congratulated Kyrie on the new shoe he has that’s about to drop. We have a good relationship. We’re pretty cool, pretty tight but it’s just [wearing the shoe] — nah.”
Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson is under contract with Chinese brand Anta through the end of the 2019-2020 NBA season, and the brand has made him a new multi-year shoe deal extension offer that would place him among the highest earning footwear endorsers in the league, sources tell Nice Kicks. As Thompson’s profile in the league has risen each of the past two seasons, his representatives at BDA Sports Management and Anta had opened endorsement renegotiation talks earlier this fall, which would drastically amplify the value of his current shoe deal. The multi-year renegotiation is similar to the structure that his fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry agreed to with Under Armour after his MVP season.
Talks on a multi-year renegotiation and extension have landed Thompson a massive new offer from Anta, said to be worth more than $9 Million per year.
SLAM: How have you liked playing in the D Rose 7 so far this season? Derrick Rose: I love the 7, man. It was the only shoe I had total control over and seeing everything develop on the shoe. The [D Rose 8] and [D Rose 9] that’s coming out over the next few years, I’m involved in making the shoe. It means a lot to me and my partnership with adidas.
You made big news in the sneaker world by deciding to sign with adidas. Why did you decide to sign with them? What was their pitch to you like? Kristaps Porzingis: What I loved about adidas the most is they give their athletes freedom; they let them create, they let them have a voice. In the meeting I had with them, everything I wanted to hear, I heard. It wasn’t about the money, I really felt that this was the brand for me, it felt right. I knew what I wanted at that point.
Adidas though had been routinely circling, looking to expand its roster of NBA athletes and add more wing scorers and forwards after years of mostly focusing on point guards. Ingram, with his wiry 6-foot-9 frame and explosive scoring potential, was right at the top of the brand’s list. The interest was mutual. “I was looking for loyalty. That’s something that I’ve gotten throughout my high school career, through my AAU career and even through college, always talking to adidas people, even though I was at a Nike school,” Ingram, 19, told The Vertical.
Can Klay Thompson’s signature sneaker line ever overcome that unfortunate viral moment of him looking unenthusiastic about his first model? Anta, the brand behind Thompson’s footwear line, claims to have already done so: the brand said this summer that it had sold 650,000 pairs of the shoes. It will look to build on that success with this, the Anta KT2, its second signature model for the Golden State Warriors three-point specialist. The shoe makes its debut this week in two colorways—the “Whitehawk” and “Blackhawk”—that both wear Warriors colors.
Former NBA player Stephon Marbury, who now plays in China, has released Starbury Elite sneakers with soles that light up at the touch of an iPhone app and flash as they detect the beats to music. “It took me a lot of time and a lot of work,” Marbury said in a video of the seven months spent to complete the project. “We put the work in. We did everything that we needed to do for the technology before we brought it to America so that everyone would be able to use their phone to control the lights and play music.”
Nick DePaula: Ricky Rubio has agreed to terms on a new multi-year shoe deal extension with Adidas, sources tell @The Vertical.
For the better part of the past week, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas has been seeing tweets from fans who have encountered the “Pick Me Last Again” signage that Nike has pasted all over Boston’s transit stations as part of the company’s “Come Out of Nowhere” campaign. Thomas, the 60th pick in the 2011 draft who has elevated to All-Star status in Boston, is one of 10 players spotlighted in Nike’s NBA promotion. Told there were some signs at North Station, the railway that sits beneath TD Garden, Thomas had his wife, Kayla, snap some pictures during Wednesday’s home game against the Chicago Bulls.
Thomas knew Nike was putting together a commercial spot featuring himself, Golden State Warriors big man Draymond Green and Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, but he didn’t know the scope of Nike’s transit campaign. “Nike said they had something special for me, but I didn’t know it was going to be that,” Thomas said. “When people sent me pictures on social media, it was of like North Station, and then my wife had taken a picture of it last game. But the next day someone said South Station had bigger ones. I’m like, ‘I gotta go by this.’ So that was my first time ever even at South Station. The posters are like everywhere. It’s unbelievable. “When I went last night, me and my wife, we had a moment.”
Yi Jianlian just returned to the Chinese Basketball Association’s Guangdong Southern Tigers following a short-lived NBA comeback. Unfortunately, he doesn’t appear to be much happier back home than he was on the end of the Lakers’ bench. In the middle of a game that was played earlier today, Jianlian stopped playing, removed his Li-Ning sneakers, left them on the court and subbed himself out. According to reports, the long-time Nike endorser cited discomfort as the reason for his actions, along with continued frustration over the CBA’s mandatory Li-Ning sneaker policy — a result of its official partnership with the brand.
Alexis Morgan: Congratulations to @Troy Williams who just signed with Nike. He’s wearing the Air Jordan 12 “Deep Royal Blue” (which drops in November). pic.twitter.com/pHtB7iR0u4
Nick DePaula: Blazers wing Allen Crabbe has signed a new shoe deal with Adidas, sources tell @TheVertical / @NiceKicks. Had signed with Nike as a rookie.
Nick DePaula: Newly extended Atlanta Hawks PG Dennis Schroder has also extended his shoe deal with Nike, sources tell @TheVertical / @NiceKicks.
Adidas threw a huge sum of money at Houston Rockets point guard James Harden when it signed him away from Nike in 2015, giving him a reported $200 million contract. But, in an interview with Sole Collector at the release event for his new signature shoe over the weekend, Harden said that wasn’t what motivated him to make the switch. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the voice,” Harden said. “It’s about creating. It’s about the things I have in my hand, designing and wanting it to get out so people around the world can get it and get a taste for it.”
Is James Harden worth a $200 million deal? Rick Jennings, Executive Vice President of PR firm Step 3: In today’s market, yes. James Harden is a rising star with a unique look and a personality that transcends basketball. Adidas gets increased awareness for their brand, and another young talented player to add to their roster along with Derrick Rose and Dame Lillard. It’s a smart move by adidas.
The deal, negotiated by agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports, pays the New York Knicks power forward between $3 million and $6 million annually. That starting range could escalate each year based on several performance incentives such as point-average thresholds, playoff appearances and All-NBA or All-Star team selections. His previous brand, Nike, held a “right to match” clause and waited until the very end to decline to match adidas’ offer.
The fact Porzingis was a sneaker free agent was a mostly unprecedented case. Typically, rookies drafted at the top of the first round sign a four-year sneaker deal, but Porzingis signed a four-year contract with Nike for $25,000 when he began his pro career in Spain at 17. “What made it unique was that [the deal] wasn’t over by the time he was drafted,” Chris Brantley, vice president of marketing at ASM Sports, told The Vertical before Porzingis entered into negotiations with other brands. “He still had one year to go, and we had him play out the year and bet on him. We bet that he would have a good season and put himself in position to get a nice contract when it expired.”
New York Knicks emerging star Kristaps Porzingis was the biggest sneaker free agent of this year — and adidas just officially signed him to a mammoth 7-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal. It’s the richest shoe deal ever given to a European player, expected to pay Porzingis between $3- and $6 million annually, depending on a variety of on-court performance incentives that he can meet. “I’m happy to be here and it just felt right to be with adidas,” beams Porzingis. “There’s a lot of excitement right now, and I feel like it’s the right fit for me.”
For tonight’s NBA season opener, Porzingis and the Knicks will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the league’s marquee kickoff game at 7:30 PM EST on TNT. You can expect to see the rising phenom in one of the below player exclusive editions of the adidas Crazy Explosive. Each pair features a variety of Knicks hues, along with a custom “KP6” script wordmark on the right tongue tab. Along the insoles, you’ll notice some added personal details, as the right sockliner features a depiction of Latvia and its flag, with “KP-6” text below. On the left insole, the brand has incorporated the Coat of Arms of the city of Liepaja, his hometown.
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November 23, 2017 | 12:51 pm EST Update
The slow start has caused NBA insiders to question whether the star-studded trio of Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony can work together in Oklahoma City. Like fish, NBA teams also have a mind of their own and no teams are waiting for the Thunder to figure it out. George, however, would like to remind you that it is just November, with lots of basketball to be played. “You have to understand that it’s new,” said George, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder. “As much as we look good on paper, we have to work as a team. If it was easy, everyone could do it. The only teams that play well are the ones that have played together for a while. We’re a new team. A new group. We got to go through this adversity so we have something to look back at going forward, really. “We understand what we have talentwise. That’s the obvious. But we’re patient. We’re going to get it right. It’s too early.”
Do you think the big win over the Warriors could be a season-changing victory for the Thunder? Paul George: It’s too early. We don’t want to get too hyped off of this. It was a great win. A great opportunity to play against the best team. We have a lot more work cut out for us. Now it’s about building. We can talk about how good we’re doing and how good we’re feeling once we are [win] streaking.
What is the best thing about playing with Westbrook and Anthony? Paul George: They create a lot of one-on-one plays and opportunities. Just being on the floor with those guys is fun. They both bring different parts of the game.
When you learned that playing for Oklahoma City was a possibility, what first came to mind? Paul George: I was kind of shocked from just being traded in general. There is a ‘wow’ factor. But at the end of the day, I knew I was playing for a contending team and playing alongside the MVP [Westbrook] and one of the best players. I knew it was an opportunity to do something special. So, I was pretty excited. I was ecstatic about it.
How do you answer the question of what is next in regards to your unrestricted free agency next summer? Paul George: There is no next. I’m focused on what is now. There is no next for me right now because the now isn’t finished. The now isn’t where it should be, so there is no thought on what is next. I’m a person that stays busy with what I am doing and stays locked into where I am at. When the next comes, we will prepare for that.
The Sixers were closing out the Portland Trail Blazers with ease on Wednesday night, and with a 22-point lead late in the fourth quarter it seemed like everybody was getting a chance to play. Everybody except Jahlil Okafor. The fans took notice and spoke up: “We want Okafor!” Egged on by Joel Embiid, the crowd chanted over and over, roaring their plea for Okafor to take the court. The player who once led the team in scoring quietly stayed on the bench.
After the game, Embiid said that Okafor is one of his closest friends, and that in the end, he just wants the best for Okafor. “I feel like he deserves a chance, and I support him,” Embiid said. “I’ve got to have my teammate’s back.”