James Harden has officially signed a signature shoe deal with Adidas after Nike chose not to match an offer for the Rockets star, the company announced. The new deal is worth $200 million and runs for 13 years, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell.
Harden joins Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose and John Wall on Adidas' roster of signature shoe clients. (Harden's teammate, Dwight Howard, did have a signature Adidas shoe as well, but his contract expired earlier this year).
This is a huge get for Adidas, which recently lost its contract with the NBA to provide official apparel. Harden took a leap to superstardom last season, finishing second in MVP voting after averaging 27 points and seven assist per game and leading the Rockets to the conference finals. He's one of the top players in the game right now.
"We're a brand of creators and James embodies that more than any athlete in the game," Adidas Global Basketball General Manager Chris Grancio said in a press release. "His addition to the Adidas basketball family is a game changer. 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 the off the court. His ceiling is far from reached, which tells you the future for him and our brand looks incredible."
Harden, along with Wall, Rose and Lillard, is expected to become the face of the NBA branch of the Adidas brand. As part of the deal, Harden will get his signature shoe, as well as being an ambassador for the brand in Europe and Asia. He did not have a signature shoe line with Nike.
While this is a big loss for Nike, their dominance of the NBA market remains unrivaled. They have some of the best, most recognizable players under contract -- LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul in particular -- and now will also be the NBA's official apparel provider. Adidas won't be able to challenge Nike as basketball's top brand, but signings like this one will help them remain competitive and fend off Under Armor, which has gotten in the game largely thanks to their deal with league MVP Stephen Curry.
It remains to be seen whether Harden, reviled by some because of his style of play, will be able to sell as many shoes as the huge deal he's getting suggests he should. However, Adidas clearly feels confident that his charisma and high profile will make him an invaluable addition.
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