Nick DePaula: Nike has signed a 6-year school-wide apparel contract with HBCU Florida A&M University for all 15 @FAMUAthletics sports. The @FAMU_1887 Men’s & Women’s Basketball squads will be “Team LeBron” — with @LeBron James’s crown logo on uniforms and exclusive Rattlers LeBron sneakers. pic.twitter.com/SxWE1alb9e
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Darren Heitner: Oakley has signed Damian Lillard. Lillard joins Patrick Mahomes II, Diamond DeShields, Lamar Jackson, Mikaela Shiffrin, and more on Team Oakley. Oakley is re-releasing the ‘90s frames, X Metal Romeo and Juliet, that Lillard wore prior to tip-off vs. the Warriors last night. pic.twitter.com/JMFeG3vp5C
Adam Zagoria: Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson has signed an endorsement deal with Mercedes-Benz, per source. MBZ has deals with Yankees Manager Aaron Boone and some Yankees players, but Robinson will be the 1st Knicks player to form a strategic partnership with the luxury automotive brand
Shams Charania: Sources: Portland star Damian Lillard has signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Biofreeze — which also has become the logo patch of the Trail Blazers.
There’s a word that describes the business partnership between a rising NBA star known by his initials, K.A.T., and a candy bar called Kit Kat: Inevitable. “I feel like it is,” Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns said. “It’s something too perfect of a match.”
Two seasons into his NBA career, Towns hasn’t yet made the playoffs, but he has a growing list of corporate partners he endorses — double digits and counting with a chocolate-bar ad campaign aimed at an internet audience that launched last week.
He also has deals with Nike, Gatorade, 2K Sports, Beats by Dre and Jack Link’s Beef Jerky. In the Jack Link’s commercials, which have aired throughout the NBA playoffs, he co-stars with none other than Sasquatch himself and demonstrates what has been true for some time: An NBA star needn’t play in New York City or Los Angeles to compile endorsement deals.
“I like to be able to express my personality, the way I am,” Towns said. “Everyone is different. I’m more of a social person, so it’s a lot of fun to go out and do what I love to do: Show my personality and my humor.”
Kobe Bryant appeared in an Apple commercial that aired for the first time during Sunday afternoon’s broadcast of the Los Angeles Lakers-Houston Rockets game. In the spot called “Father Time,” Bryant is in a trailer talking to actor Michael B. Jordan, who is dressed in Bryant’s high school jersey and playing him in a fictional movie about his life.
Curry has dramatically scaled back his commitments. The offers still come in “on an almost daily basis,” Austin says, but mostly, the answer is no. His deals with State Farm and Express recently concluded, and he won’t renew. Instead, going forward Curry has prioritized a few lucrative contracts that feel true to him and bespeak a clean message. There are no candy or fast food commercials; instead he endorses Brita water filters. And of course Under Armour, which renegotiated to give him equity in the company and a royalty-cut of his sneaker sales. If he takes on anything new it will be something that offers him a stake, and doesn’t require a lot of appearances, or photo and video shoots.
Harden’s a big part of Ferrara’s plan to double sales to $2 billion by 2020. Trolli contributed $167 million in revenue for 2015, up nearly 16 percent year over year, outpacing overall category growth by more than 5 percent. Given the growing renown of the superstar (he has almost 7 million followers across social media) and the NBA’s popularity with young adults, Manchester believes the campaign will keep the brand’s youthful audience engaged and attract new fans.
Research firm Repucom, which polls people on seven attributes as part of its Celebrity DBI, took the public’s temperature on Curry last year. Curry led NBA players in every category including appeal, influence, trust and trendsetter. He was the only athlete in his sport to finish first in each of Repucom’s attributes. His aspirational score, which tracks how people feel the celebrity has a life to which they’d aspire, ranked tied for seventh with golfer Arnold Palmer out of 3,652 celebrities, one spot behind the world’s third richest person Warren Buffett.
West’s new single Facts is ultimately an attack on Nike that includes the dig “Nike, Nike treat employees just like slaves; Gave LeBron a billi’ not to run away (Yo!).” Nike and James, of course, agreed to a lifetime contract last year that will ultimately pay James hundreds of millions over his lifetime. “I heard about it but I haven’t listened to it,” James said of the track. “Obviously I’m going to side with Nike no matter who it is. It’s family when you talk about Nike and I’m always on their side no matter what the situation.”
Wall will be an unrestricted sneaker free agent this summer, after the season concludes. The adidas “match clause” will have expired, and Wall will be free to sign with any brand of his liking. Unsurprisingly, Wall has been spotted literally never in adidas off-court this fall, even wearing Retro Jordans from time to time, and practicing in Kobe Xs. Tonight, for the first time, he wore the Nike Kobe X on court in a game, apparently citing “footwear issues” with his JWall 2 signature shoe. “My main focus is just play basketball,” Wall said when asked by the Washington Post after shoot-around earlier this month. “I let my agents and marketing team and them negotiate and talk.”
After very nearly agreeing to the framework of a new deal in early July, just as John was unveiling his second JWall signature model and knocking out a cover shoot for SLAM’s KICKS Magazine, the negotiations soon came to a standoff. By mid-September, the deal was “falling apart,” according to an industry source.
According to several industry sources, the Reebok deal actually paid Wall an initial base salary of $2.5 Million, with the rest of the money to be made in on-court performance incentives and signature sales royalties. He was basically robbed of a Rookie of the Year bonus on a technicality, as 2009’s top overall pick Blake Griffin was awarded ROY, after being hurt in the final preseason game of his true rookie season a year prior. Wall would go on to earn All-Star nods and playoff appearance incentives, but clearly fell short of the sales targets that could’ve earned him up to the $5 Million per year figure.
After appearing to be headed towards agreeing to terms with adidas, the Harden numbers clouded where Wall’s representatives felt his true market value should land. “They wanted Harden money,” another source simply said. John’s agents pushed hard towards the $10 Million mark, to no avail. Much like the NBA’s restricted free agency window, there was a “match clause” on Wall’s shoe deal, meaning his agents at Relativity Sports had the summer of 2015 to take pitches from other brands, and adidas could fully match any new offer Wall agreed to.
Nike surely has no incentive to offer near eight figures, and is also fully invested in point guard Kyrie Irving’s signature line, making a Nike Wall signature shoe a long, longshot. “I don’t even know what the back up option is,” says one source. Wall could field a huge offer from a China-based brand. His agent Dan Fegan just negotiated a new deal for Dwight Howard with Peak, after Howard wore adidas for the entirety of his career to this point.
Tonight marks Kobe Bryant’s final appearance in the stored Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry in Boston. Bryant decided that the road game against the team he won his fifth championship against would be the perfect time to debut his new signature sneaker, the Nike Kobe 11, on-court. He’s wearing the purple-based colorway that first surfaced in late-November.
“Curry is a terrific PR asset,” says Matt Powell, NPD Group Sports Industry Analyst. “He has a great personality and he is playing at a very high level. Winning the NBA Championship also helped. The Curry shoe was really the first effort by UA to make a ‘street shoe’ as opposed to a ‘gym shoe’. Finally, the shoe was released at the peak of the performance basketball business.”
Curry’s brand will continue to grow after extending his partnership with Under Armour until 2024 on a deal that includes equity stake, Austin says. “I think we can grow his brand by adding new people,” says Austin. “There is not a lot of room to add and we are very selective with what brands he associates with because there are too many. But we can increase his brand, particularly with Under Armour.
Lucrative endorsement deals are beginning to roll in for Porzingis, whose first season with the Knicks has been a pleasant surprise for fans accustomed to disappointment. But Shifman Mattresses, a 122-year-old purveyor of high-end bedding, was the first company to identify his potential, signing him to a one-year deal as its first brand ambassador soon after the Knicks made him the fourth overall pick in June’s N.B.A. draft. At the time, Porzingis, a 7-foot-3 power forward from Latvia, was still a mystery to most. “Honestly,” said Phil Zucker, the general manager at Shifman, “some of it was just luck. We had no idea. I don’t even think the Knicks knew what they had in him.”
Water filtration brand Brita is hoping to make a splash by signing one of the biggest names in sports marketing. The company will formally announce later this week that it has signed Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry to a three-year deal that will make him the face of its products. “Steph is the total package for us,” said Nick Vlahos, chief operating officer of Clorox, parent company of Brita, which has its headquarters in Oakland, California. “He has the skill on the court, the personality and the family focus, and we think he’ll help us effectively deliver the message.”
Curry’s agent, Jeff Austin, said the deal, which has been in the works for many months, was the perfect partnership. “Steph realizes the responsibility he has, and he isn’t going to push something that he wouldn’t recommend to his own kids,” Austin said. “When Brita approached us and made the pitch, it was very appealing to Steph. He wants to send the message to make good, healthy choices in life.”
Which is how James arrived at last Monday, when he and Nike announced his signing of a lifetime contract. The deal, worth hundreds of millions on top of the hundreds of millions that Nike has already paid him in their 13-plus years together, was negotiated over the course of months, but it has really been under construction for years. When James signed his last Nike deal, in 2010, it included provisions to protect him. So when Kevin Durant signed a 10-year deal with Nike last summer for a reported $300 million after a bidding war with Under Armour, James knew he was going to be in position for a historic deal.
New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis has gone from unwanted to lauded to marketable star just 22 games into his NBA career. Porzingis, a 7-foot-3 Latvian who was soundly booed in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center when his name was announced as the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft in June, signed his third marketing deal on Wednesday. Sports drink BodyArmor will join two recent deals he signed with Delta Air Lines and Shifman Mattress.
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April 18, 2021 | 3:21 am EDT Update
Blake Murphy: Freddie Gillespie will sign a second 10-day contract with the Raptors tomorrow, per a source. No surprise. He played a lot by 10-day standards, impressed, and had Nick Nurse publicly vouch. Would think a partial guarantee through 2021-22 comes Apr 28, barring the unforeseen.
“I wouldn’t say (my passion has been) taken away, that’s probably a little bit too strong,” VanVleet said on Saturday. “But there’s certainly ups and downs to this thing more than I’ve ever experienced in my life. To be honest, this is probably the most unpure year of basketball I’ve ever been a part of, just from the whole league and rushing the season back. “It’s pretty much all about business this year on every level and it’s hard to hide it, you know what I’m saying? The NBA is a great balance of like the pure love and joy of one of the best sports in the world mixed with a billion-dollar industry, and I think this year the industry side has taken precedence over some of the love and the joy.”
“I can sit up here and complain about the NBA all I want to, but I’m a part of it, you know what I’m saying?” VanVleet said. “I’m directly profiting off of it. We did vote on what season we wanted. “But I can point out that this is what it is, and (these are the) the pros and cons that come with that. It’s very conflicting but not so much (because) of my craft, because I just go out there and that’s the way I play and that’s the way I approach every day. I’m (going to) take whatever consequences come with that because this is what I signed up for. But there’s certainly a lot of information that plays a role in all of these things that we’re seeing with our eyes. It’s not as simple as it looks all the time.”
After Celtics star Jayson Tatum scored 44 points to lead his team to a 119-114 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, overcoming a spectacular 47-point performance from Stephen Curry in the process, Tatum said it was a thrill for him to go toe-to-toe with the future Hall of Famer and come out on top. “Just mutual respect,” Tatum said, when asked about the conversation the two had on the court inside TD Garden afterward. “Obviously two big performances. I was glad that we got the win, but obviously he’s one of the all-time greats. “Just to earn his respect and get a win on the same night … it was a good night.”
Golden State Warriors star guard Stephen Curry scored 47 points on Saturday night, becoming the first player since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant to score at least 30 or more points in 10 straight games at age 33 or older. Curry, in his 12th NBA season, acknowledged that this is one of the best stretches he’s ever been on during his storied career.
“Statistically, it is for sure,” Curry said after the 119-114 loss to the Boston Celtics. “This season’s required something a little bit different. I’m trying to meet that moment. It’s a fun brand of basketball, just trying to put wins together with it. And I have supreme confidence; I’ve been blessed with a very special skillset that I’m trying to continue to master and hone and get better at. And that’s showing, the work is showing, so I’m trying to obviously sustain that for this season because it’s required for us to get to where we want to go.”