James Harden's $200 Million Adidas Offer Won't Be Matched by Nike

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

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Adidas is landing the new face (and beard) of the company, as Nike is unwilling to match the huge offer its competitor made to Houston Rockets superstar James Harden.  

ESPN.com's Darren Rovell first reported Aug. 3 that Adidas offered Harden a 13-year, $200 million deal in an effort to pry him away from Nike. According to TMZ, Nike won't get into a bidding war with Adidas over the three-time All-Star's endorsement.

That report was confirmed by Rovell on Aug. 12, who noted the superstar would join Adidas on Oct. 1. Zach Harper of CBS Sports provided the official statement on the deal: 

Zach Harper @talkhoops

Harden-Adidas partnership super official http://t.co/NlWEouz5Fi

Per NBA on ESPN, citing data from Forbes.com, the deal will put Harden among the NBA's elite with regard to endorsement dollars:


If James Harden secures $200 million deal with adidas, he will be 1 of top 5 highest endorsed @NBA players in 2015. http://t.co/Bl3GUVdlbA

After news of the offer initially broke, Adidas spokesman Michael Ehrlich commented in a statement on Adidas' decision to make an aggressive play for the MVP runner-up, according to Rovell:

We've invited James Harden to join Adidas. 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. He's coming off a historic season where he won the scoring title and was voted MVP by his peers. His connection with fans is unparalleled and unprecedented and he can take the game, our brand and the industry to new heights.

While it is a pricey move for Adidas, it is a much-needed one considering its current standing in the shoe market, per Rovell:

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

Why is Adidas throwing the world at James Harden? Here's their U.S. shoe market share in 1st 6 months of 2015 http://t.co/15GSkw7JLn

Harden will become the main man at Adidas, with Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Washington Wizards star John Wall backing him up.

Although missing out on a spokesman of Harden's caliber is far from ideal from Nike's perspective, it is a bigger gain for Adidas than it is a loss for Nike.

That is because Nike already has a number of high-profile NBA stars under contract, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.

Adidas has taken the approach of rolling the dice on younger talent. It seems like a smart gamble to get Harden, who has developed into one of the most dominant offensive players in basketball. 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.


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