Adidas wants a beard. Bad.
The major apparel line has proposed a $200 million, 13-year mega deal to superstar James Harden, who is a sneaker free agent this summer.
Adidas wanted to strike quickly, as the Houston Rockets scorer and his deal with Nike just expired. Now they have until the end of the week to match their competitors offer or potentially lose “The Beard” to the “3 Stripes”.
Adidas has been on a tear in regards to marketing and rebranding this past year signing major Hip Hop stars like Kanye West and Pharrell to the brand, but the athletic department has yet to capture that one sports superstar that the brand needs to rival other athletic brands. In 2012, the company signed a huge 14-year deal with Derrick Rose, only to see him immediately miss plenty of action because debilitating knee injuries. Brand-mates Damian Lilllard and John Wall have yet to crack the star glass ceiling that Harden is currently in the process of shattering so this move could really put a face on the brands NBA campaign.
With Steph Curry locked up with Under Armor and Kevin Durant just resigning with Nike (after battling UA for his rights), Harden should be a priority these next couple of days and an offer like this looks too hard to turndown. With incentives, if the deal is consummated, Harden could very well make more from Adidas in the next couple of years than with his actual team, The Rockets. Harden signed an $80 million contract extension with Houston in 2012 that goes through the 2017-18 NBA season.
The deal is a win-win for both brand and player. Harden doesn’t have that signature shoe that every other marquee player in the league has. Adidas has some pretty exciting fashion figures inked with them and possible collabs with Harden, who is one of the most fashionable players in the league, could really push Adidas to where they want to be. That is, in the conversation with a Nike brand that has been killing the game for a minute now.