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Why does an NBA player wear a certain type of shoe?? Is it the design...comfort...support...features...colorways? NOPE.
Getting their own "PE"? (Player Exclusive line) Being featured in an ad campaign? Maybe.
But here's what it really boils down to: $$$. They go to the highest bidder.
So, we ask - is this really an ENDORSEMENT? Are these NBA players actually "endorsing" these sneakers and brands they represent?
Nike built this business model in the 1980s on MJ's back to the point of a near monopoly - they manufacture 9 out of every 10 kicks worn on a basketball court today. So, they can afford to pay annual endorsement contracts in excess of $20 million to the few ballplayers whose likenesses actually help sell shoes (namely, Lebron, Kobe and KD). But recently, that dominance has begun to work against them. With so many athletes under contract but only a few they can feature, there's been a rash of high profile players jumping ship to the highest bidder:
Rajon Rondo joined his former teammate Kevin Garnett on the roster of Anta athletes. Never heard of 'em? Not surprising...the Chinese footwear company doesn't offer their product for sale in the US.
Just this week, Under Armour announced their biggest basketball signing to date, inking Steph Curry to a multiyear contract in an effort to boost their 0.35% market share in the basketball footwear space.
DWade left Brand Jordan last year to build out his own brand with the Chinese giant Li-Ning. He is rumored to have received equity in the $1 billion company on top of them matching the $10 million/yr he was receiving under his previous deal.
Now the big question is whether Rondo, Curry or Wade's switch will ever get you to rock a pair of Anta, UAs or Li-Nings. Are these athletes "endorsing" these shoes because they believe in them...or the mighty Benjamins?? Just check their feet when the paparazzi catch them coming out of the club in their J's...
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