Remember when it wasn’t a question where the new top athlete would sign? Signing with Nike almost became a foregone conclusion. Nike had a monopoly on the endorsement business, Reebok, Adidas and others were simply getting Nike’s leftovers. Well now things might be starting to change.
After signing NBA stars such as Derrick Rose (remember him?), Dwight Howard, John Wall and Damian Lillard, Adidas finally signed a top prospect it was assumed Nike would go all out to sign. That prospect is Canada’s Andrew Wiggins, the first overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ young prodigy was forecasted to sign a shoe deal in the $180 million range. A range Nike usually plays in for top talents.
This time it was Adidas making the splash, signing a player that’s talent has been mentioned with the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant, two Nike signees. This in addition to prying Kanye West away and becoming the new sponsor for soccer powerhouse Manchester United, Adidas has made endorsement deals a two-man race.
They are a brand on the rise, chasing the giant bully Nike. This may just be a small bump in Nike’s storied success of sponsoring the world’s top athletes such as James, Durant, Kobe, Cristiano Ronaldo and more, but it may be a changing of the guard. If Wiggins turns out to be as advertised then Adidas now has its basketball superstar to headline with Lionel Messi, Robert Griffin III and Dwight Howard. Watch out Nike, Adidas is plotting for a takeover.