As James Harden recently signed a contract with Adidas, reportedly worth $200 million over 13 years, Adidas obtained an NBA All Star and reigning MVP frontrunner who will be big for this company.
Adidas seems to be climbing its way up the endorsement ladder. With this signing, Adidas now has some top-tier NBA players endorsed who are all entering the prime of their NBA careers including: John Wall, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard and newly acquired James Harden.
Although this contract involved an absurd sum of money, this signing is really going to promote the brand and help brighten the future. A bright future is something that Adidas needs, considering the fact that after they signed Derrick Rose to a five-year $95 million dollar contract in 2011, Rose was plagued by injuries the following three years. He was sidelined the second half of 2011-2012 and all of 2012-2013 with a torn ACL, and a good chunk of the 2014-2015 season with a torn right meniscus. Adidas has clearly been in need of a new face of its brand, and that is exactly why it made the Harden signing.
When Harden entered the league in 2009, he trademarked the slogan “Fear the Beard.” Harden is on the rise, and has been ever since being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2012. He has finished top five in scoring, all of the past three seasons. Harden had never eclipsed 20 points per game in his tenure with the Thunder.
It has been a tradition for some players to grow out a playoff beard, but Harden’s thick beard has always gotten special attention. Fans have worn fake beards to games in support of Harden. This is great for Adidas because Harden’s beard helped him become more recognizable and well known around the league.
Besides the ability to grow a long and luscious beard, Harden also cares about the way he looks and dresses. When it comes to promoting a brand, fashion is always a huge factor. Because of his fashion sense, Harden may be able to come up with some new and improved ideas for this company.
In 2014, Adidas fell behind Under Armour to number three in sportswear market sales and Nike recently took over the Jordan brand. They realized they needed to take a risk. Obviously there is more competition in the market now, and that risk can lead to reward for Adidas.
Most importantly, James Harden is a great role model and great competitor. It is not often that a high-caliber, high market player hits the endorsement free agency. Adidas acted fast and made a great choice. Although $200 million dollars sounds crazy, it was a great investment for its future.