Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid Reportedly Sign Endorsement Deals with Adidas

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2014

Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) waves to the crowd as he leaves the stage after being selected as the number six overall pick to the Boston Celtics in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Add Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid to the burgeoning group of young talent joining the Adidas brand. 

The apparel brand reportedly inked the two lottery picks to endorsement deals, giving Adidas four of the first six picks in June's 2014 NBA draft, per Slam's Rodger Bohn. Andrew Wiggins and Dante Exum previously signed with Adidas, each slowly rolling out their campaigns as they try to expand their off-the-court brand.

Financial terms of the agreements for Smart and Embiid have not yet been made available. Wiggins, who was at one point expected to sign a shoe deal worth more than $100 million, is slated to make $2 million annually under the terms of his deal, per's Darren Rovell. Exum signed a multi-million dollar contract with Adidas in April, and the Aussie has already appeared in a series of commercials about life after the draft.

It is unlikely, based on their projected marketability, that Embiid or Smart approached the guaranteed money given to Exum or Wiggins. Exum's international appeal helps Adidas expand its global brand. Wiggins is the No. 1 overall pick, one of the most talked about college basketball players in recent history and has future dunk contest winner written all over him.   

"Joining the Adidas family is a blessing and an honor and I am extremely excited for what lies ahead," Wiggins said in a statement. "Our collaboration couldn't be more organic both personally and professionally and I look forward to moving to the next level with the brand."

Smart and Embiid, though potential stars in their own right, have a couple potential roadblocks in their way. Smart, the sixth pick in the draft, is slated to play behind Rajon Rondo for the Boston Celtics for at least the next season. Embiid, who would have gone No. 1 overall if it weren't for the discovery of a foot fracture, may not play at all in 2014-15 as he recovers.

Most of Embiid's contributions for Adidas at the moment will involve improving his recognition nationally. The former Kansas star has done just that in recent weeks via his use of social media. From recruiting LeBron James, to then blocking LeBron James to campaigning for the Cavaliers to not trade Wiggins, Embiid's eclectic Twitter feed has become a goldmine that doesn't end. (Except, you know, when he threatens to leave Twitter.) 

Smart is much more quiet off the court, but Adidas has had success with non-expressive personalities in the past. Derrick Rose, who signed a contract with the company that could be worth $250 million, launched a shoe brand and has been part of a few successful campaigns. Adidas' success navigating Rose's injuries and introversion probably appealed to Embiid and Smart.

And that's to say nothing of the benefit for Adidas, which continues to try to pull away in a head-to-head matchup with rival Nike for the 2014 draft class.

Nike's only top-five pick thus far is Bucks forward Jabari Parker, who signed with its Jordan Brand. Lakers rookie Julius Randle also signed with the world's largest shoe brand. Magic forward Aaron Gordon is the only top-seven pick who is yet to sign a shoe contract.

Rovell currently estimates that Nike owns 95 percent of the United States' basketball shoe market between its flagship and Jordan. Adidas comes in at a paltry three percent. 

When it comes to going for Nike's crown as the top basketball endorser, these are the moves Adidas needs to makeadding young, up-and-coming talent and hoping a couple of them develop on the court enough to be faces of the brand.

Signing Wiggins already came with the unintended consequence of grabbing LeBron James' teammate, which will only help him on and off the court.


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