“It also wasn’t that revolutionary for Sonny to tell Nike to sign Michael,” Falk said. “He was the national player of the year. It wasn’t like he was some sleeper.” Vaccaro told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he never claimed he negotiated the Jordan deal, but did say he was in the room at the L’ermitage hotel in Beverly Hills when Rob Strasser and Falk were going over the final numbers in the contract.
Hoping to finalize a footwear endorsement deal before the NBA draft lottery on May 17, sports agency Klutch Sports Group will meet with adidas Basketball on Thursday in Los Angeles to pitch potential top pick Ben Simmons on a shoe deal, sources told The Vertical.
As it stands, only Nike and adidas are believed to be in the running to sign Simmons. Both companies will be offering multi-year deals in line with the common five-year structure offered to previous incoming top picks such as Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Davis and John Wall. For comparison, the two largest recent rookie shoe contracts of this decade were given to Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in 2014, by adidas for $2.2 million over five years, and Wall, the No. 1 pick in 2010, by Reebok, which paid him a $2.5 million base over five years, along with several incentive bonuses.
Because of Klutch Sports’ strong Nike ties, many are assuming that Nike will eventually land Simmons. However, adidas is expected to make a stronger overall offer, both in annual base compensation and achievable incentives, sources told The Vertical. Neither brand is expected to offer a signature shoe to Simmons, but would plan to offer Simmons custom-colored versions, known as player exclusives, of their statement-level team shoes.
Uncle Martian, as the brand is mystifyingly known, appears to be the latest in a long line of Chinese companies seeking to capitalize on the fame of their better-known foreign counterparts. Its logo, a letter “U” on top of an upside-down “U,” became the subject of widespread ridicule among Chinese Internet users last week and has drawn threats of a lawsuit from Under Armour. On Tuesday, a spokesman for Uncle Martian told China Real Time that the brand has “nothing to do with” Under Armour – and that the U.S. athletic gear maker had yet to make any formal complaint to the company.