A few months from now, Lonzo Ball will be able to say he was one of top picks in this year’s NBA Draft. He may also be able to say he’s part of the Nike family.
Last month, LaVar Ball famously said he was looking for a $1 billion shoe deal for his three sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo. With the latter two still in high school, Lonzo will be the first to play at the professional level and there seems to be at least some chance he will do so wearing Nikes. Although, the price for the deal may not reach ten figures.
“It’s a little steep,” Knight told USA Today. On Lonzo Ball, Knight added “He’s an awfully great player. Yeah, we have an interest.”
Nike typically gets its share of the draft’s better players so it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Lonzo Ball sporting Nike shoes next winter. He seems destined to be, at a minimum, a very good NBA player and potentially a star. If Phil Knight and Nike could get him and his two younger brothers for a combined billion dollars, that may end up being a bit of a bargain if LiAngelo and LaMelo profile to be just as good, if not better.
- Filed Under:
- Sports Business
Nike trolled rival apparel company adidas with a strong tweet about John Ross Saturday.
Ross ran a 4.22 40-yard dash time on Saturday, breaking the NFL Combine record (video here). The Washington Huskies product sent a tweet a few hours later holding up a Nike football cleat, which is what he wore while running in the event:
— John Ross III (@WatchJRoss) March 4, 2017
Nike was of course proud of one of their new players representing the brand so well that they responded to the tweet. They also took a shot at adidas with their writing.
On an island all by yourself.
— Nike Football (@usnikefootball) March 4, 2017
“On an island” is a reference to adidas’ campaign that got some headlines about how they were offering an island to anyone who beat the combine record in the 40-yard dash. Unfortunately, one of the conditions for winning the prize was having to wear adidas cleats. As a Nike guy, Ross not only did not win the island, but he generated some incredible publicity for the swoosh at adidas’ expense.
H/T The Spun
Nike is the official sponsor of the Olympic team, so it’s no surprise that they want to obscure any ties some of the Team USA athletes have to rival companies. For that reason, they arranged the Team USA basketball photo in a specific way to block its competitors from being seen.
As Nick DePaula pointed out, Team USA basketball’s photo was set up so that Harrison Barnes and Kyle Lowry, who are sponsored by adidas, had their shoes blocked. Similarly, Klay Thompson, who is sponsored by Antas, was in the back so his shoes were less visible:
Amazing. Nike did it again. Blocked out Barnes & Lowry's adidas and Klay's Antas in the Team USA photo: pic.twitter.com/EMIS6T3i7g
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) July 18, 2016
DeMar DeRozan’s foot right in front of Barnes’ (second from left) is well-placed. Jimmy Butler (second from left on bottom row) is crouched in a position to block both Barnes and Lowry. Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan are placed to block Thompson (third from right in back row).
This practice of blocking Nike rivals in the team photo is nothing new.
They also did it in 2008 with adidas endorser Dwight Howard:
A USA tradition since 2008, when players lined up in reverse order so Coach K himself could block Dwight's adidas: pic.twitter.com/VKIHe1yH12
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) July 18, 2016
We know Nike is serious about their business, and this is evidence of it. Carefully orchestrated photos like this also lead to some saying players like Candace Parker are left off the Olympic team because they’re not Nike athletes.
The Golden State Warriors are not the only winners in the Kevin Durant free agency decision. Apparently Nike thinks they are big winners too.
NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned on The Vertical’s free agency show Friday morning that Nike wanted to get back at Under Armour over the story from March of Steph Curry making them look bad. Curry chose to leave Nike for Under Armour when his contract with the swoosh was up, and there apparently was some sloppiness with Nike’s efforts to reclaim him.
So why does Nike like Durant’s move to Golden State? Woj says they believe that Durant can somewhat take the shine away from Curry:
For Nike, this is a coup: It wanted to slow UnderArmour's momentum with Steph Curry and Warriors. Now, KD promises to impact Curry's star.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 4, 2016
The thinking here is that all the success the Warriors will have together will be shared by the team’s stars, thereby slowing down Curry’s superstar growth and Under Armour’s accompanying explosion in the basketball world.
However, some brand experts disagree with Nike’s thinking (or hopes) because they believe Curry is already so beloved by young fans, Durant being there with him will not affect things.
I don't think this helps Nike in the UA battle. Unless Steph stops being Steph, kids are always going to be more partial to him.
— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) July 4, 2016
As a brand, Nike is most interested in seeing their players become winners and champions. Now they just need Durant to win his first championship, which seems even more likely, at least as far as the odds go.
LeBron James signed a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike last December. The official terms are unknown, but there has been speculation that the sports apparel juggernaut guaranteed LeBron 10 figures.
While speaking with Mark Anthony Green of GQ Style recently, LeBron’s business partner and longtime friend Maverick Carter hinted that those rumors are true.
How much was the deal for?
I can’t say.
Come on, Mav! Can you ballpark it?
What are people saying?
Kanye said a billion. So a billion.
[Maverick smiles and points one finger skyward.]
Yeah. It’s a fantastic deal. Nike feels great about the deal. That’s the most important thing. As great as I feel, as great as LeBron feels—Nike feels fantastic about it. It’s the largest deal in the history of the company. Their hope is he makes even more. And our hope is that, too, obviously.
Kanye West, who has a strained relationship with Nike after leaving the company to sign with Adidas, was accused of taking a shot at LeBron on his track “FACTS” with the following line:
Nike, Nike treat employees just like slaves / Gave LeBron a billi’ not to run away!”
The only thing we heard initially about LeBron’s new deal with Nike is that it is worth significantly more than $500 million. If a player like James Harden can sign a $200 million endorsement deal that covers 13 years, why wouldn’t LeBron get close to $1 billion for a lifetime contract?
Even if the deal is for less than $1 billion guaranteed, LeBron will probably earn more than that when all is said and done. He’s destined to join this guy as one of the only former athletes with a net worth that is 10 figures.
Stephen Curry has become one of the most marketable athletes in sports, but he’s not an endorser of Nike or even Adidas – he’s with Under Armour.
It turns out that Nike had Curry, and could have had him for much longer had they not sensationally botched their sales pitch pitch.
ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss detailed the brand courtship of Curry, including the story of the terrible meeting Curry and his father Dell had with a Nike representative in August 2013.
Nike didn’t send major power broker Lynn Merritt to the meeting, offering marketing director Nico Harrison instead. The meeting began with one official mispronouncing Curry’s first name as “Steph-on” and never correcting himself, and a Powerpoint presentation that accidentally left Kevin Durant’s name in it as the target.
“I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell Curry said.
Nike was also not willing to give Curry the chance to run a Nike-sponsored camp for young players, and were not prepared to market Curry as one of their A-list stars. It only enhanced the chip on Curry’s shoulders, and Dell likened it to the fact that in college, the only power conference program to recruit Curry was Virginia Tech, and they would only take him as a walk-on.
“Wasn’t highly recruited, wasn’t highly respected, wasn’t highly thought of,” Dell said. “It was kind of like that, you know?”
Thanks to the influence of then unheralded Under Armour endorser Kent Bazemore, Curry ended up with them. He’s not exactly making $500 million like LeBron James is with Nike, but Curry is the big name at Under Armor now, and more importantly, they actually tried hard to get him, unlike Nike.
Nike has officially terminated its contract Manny Pacquiao.
The sports apparel company announced Wednesday that it no longer has a relationship with Pacquiao in the wake of some controversial remarks the boxing star made recently about same-sex marriage.
BREAKING: Nike has terminated its contract with Manny Pacquiao due to recent comments. Nike statement: pic.twitter.com/3xZ7e08EtU
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 17, 2016
In a recent interview in his native country of the Philippines, Pacquiao compared those engaging in same-sex marriage to animals. You can read his full quote here.
Pacquiao had an endorsement deal with Nike since 2006, which means the company stuck with him through another anti-gay rant several years ago. The latest remarks likely made their decision easy.