Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard and the Biggest NBA Endorsement Deals

Matt JonesAnalyst IMarch 14, 2012

Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard and the Biggest NBA Endorsement Deals

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    It is no secret that NBA players get paid millions of dollars to take the court each night and play a game in front of thousands of fans. 

    Many of these players are also paid millions of dollars for off-court activities and product endorsements. 

    The following slides will outline some of the NBA players who are using their popularity they gain for playing basketball to cross over into marketing opportunities. 

    The money that these players make off the court is far more than what they make for playing basketball. 

Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

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    It seems like you can't go anywhere these days without seeing or hearing about Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.

    Part of this is due to the trade rumors that have followed him all season, and part is due to the endorsement deals that he has. 

    According to Forbes, Howard is set to earn $28.9 million this season, with $11 million of that coming in endorsements from sponsors like Adidas and McDonalds. 

    Howard is quickly climbing the ladder of total money earned in endorsements by an NBA player and must take his marketability into consideration as he chooses which team he will play for next. 

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Kobe Bryant is the highest-paid player on the court and is doing well for himself off the court with endorsements. 

    Forbes states that as a representative for companies like Nike, Smart Car, Turkish Airlines, Vitamin Water and the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops, his earnings will top the $53 million mark this season. 

    His basketball salary will makes up less than half of that amount at $25.2 million, with endorsements making up the rest. 

    Bryant spent a lot of time overseas during the recent NBA lockout but was not playing basketball. Instead, he was making his money marketing and endorsing a variety of products worldwide. 

Lamar Odom, Dallas Mavericks

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    The Dallas Mavericks will pay Lamar Odom about $8.9 million this season to play basketball, and he will make more than that for his off-court activities. 

    During his career, Odom has advertised for companies like Taco Bell, Powerbar, Samsung and Power Balance.

    Odom also has his own line of perfume called Unbreakable, which markets and shares with his wife, Khloe Kardashian.

    In addition to the endorsements, Season 2 of the couple's television reality show Khloe and Lamar recently began on the E! network. 

    Odom's overall net worth is about $56 million. 

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Blake Griffin is collecting endorsement deals as quickly as he collects slam dunks in NBA games. 

    After jumping over the end of a Kia sedan to win the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, Griffin signed an endorsement deal with the automaker. 

    Over the course of his short career, he has already endorsed products for Subway restaurants, AT&T, Panini America and Vizio electronics. 

    Like many other players in the NBA, Griffin also has a shoe deal with Nike. 

    Griffin is still playing under his rookie contract that will pay him $5.7 million this season. As he is in the league longer, Griffin will not only raise his worth on the court, but off the court as well as he continues to collect endorsement opportunities. 

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

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    According to Forbes, Dwyane Wade will make about $27 million this season, with approximately $15.5 million of it coming in salary paid from the Miami Heat. 

    Wade is a major spokesman for Nike's Jordan Brand, which generates more than $1 billion annually.

    Over his career, Wade has also been a representative for Staples, Lincoln and T-Mobile. 

    He is remembered for his commercials with NBA legend Charles Barkley for the phone carrier. 

Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks

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    Not only has Linsanity hit the NBA, it will soon be hitting the marketing world in a big way. 

    The rise to popularity of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is one of the best stories in the NBA in a long time, and it will lead to marketing opportunities for him. 

    Lin has the potential to market to millions of people worldwide, and the endorsement deals are starting to come. 

    Lin has already signed a shoe deal with Nike, and is now in talks with the makers of Volvo automobiles to endorse the product in China, according to the Washington Post.

    Shortly after his rise to stardom, Lin became the athlete with the fastest growing brand, which is now worth at least $14 million. 

    That will no doubt help to supplement his basketball income, which is less than $765,000 this season. 

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

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    The reigning NBA MVP is doing all that he can to be a superstar on the court as well as in the area of marketing and endorsements. 

    Since coming into the league in 2008, Rose has represented companies like Skullcandy, Powerade and Wilson Sporting Goods. 

    As a rookie, Rose signed a shoe deal with Adidas that earned him about $1 million per year. 

    Still playing on his rookie contract, Rose will make about $6.9 million this year in salary with the Chicago Bulls. He will exceed that with endorsement opportunities. 

    Rose recently signed a huge deal with Adidas that will keep him wearing that shoe brand for what will likely be the rest of his career. 

    His new deal will run for the next 14 years and will earn him $250 million in endorsement dollars. 

LeBron James, Miami Heat

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    Most of the money earned by NBA superstar LeBron James comes from off-court sponsors instead of from the Miami Heat. 

    James took less money than he could have made in Cleveland to play with Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, but he more than makes up for it with his endorsement deals.

    According to Forbes, James is set to make $16 million in basketball salary and $33 million in marketing deals this season.

    He makes approximately $10 million from Nike alone, and is a spokesman for Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Upper Deck and State Farm. 

    James is easily one of the NBA's most recognizable stars for both his on-court play and his off-court commercials.