It must be nice to be “The Beard” these days.
After winning the Most Valuable Player award last month at the first-ever NBA Players’ Awards, James Harden has received a 13 year, $200 million offer to join Adidas’ roster, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
“We’ve invited James Harden to join Adidas,” Adidas Spokesman Michael Ehrlich said in a statement. “We’re a brand of creators and he truly embodies what that means with his approach to the game, his look and his style on and off the court … His connection with his fans is unparalleled and unprecedented and he can take the game, our brand and the industry to new heights.”
Adidas wasted no time in attempting to scoop up Harden, as his deal with Nike recently expired. Per Rovell, Nike now has until the end of next week to match the offer or lose Harden to a chief rival.
However, it won’t be the first time Nike has had to fend off a competitor for a prized basketball endorser. Last year, Under Armour aggressively pursued Kevin Durant, but Nike presented a 10-year deal worth approximately $300 million that he couldn’t refuse.
After passing on a new apparel deal with the NBA in March, Adidas is looking for ways to stay relevant in a basketball marketplace dominated by Nike and its Jordan-owned brand. According to Rovell, Nike and Jordan brand are accountable for 90 percent of the basketball shoes sold in the U.S., while Adidas has less than five percent market share – this despite boasting a roster of notable players like Derrick Rose, John Wall and Damian Lillard.
Harden is a popular player in the league, primarily due to his trademark facial hair, and appears to be a perennial MVP candidate, which is precisely what sportswear manufacturers want from their marquee endorsers.
But will Harden be the answer for a company struggling to make its mark? Only time will tell. What we do know, however, is that Nike has a major decision to make and the clock is ticking.