Sorry Bulls fans, dreams of the two adidas superstars joining forces will only be that…just a dream.
Somehow, it’s the 1990s all over again: As the NBA season starts, people are getting trampled and stabbed for overpriced Air Jordans. The planet’s most powerful center wants out of Orlando.
Adidas has two franchise endorsers: Derrick Rose and Howard. Rose signed a $94 million extension with the Bulls, and sources say Adidas is working on a lifetime shoe deal for him now.
And as one high-ranking sneaker executive says, “Adidas simply cannot have its two signature players on the same team in the same market. … Derrick is the face of that market, owns that market, and Adidas can’t possibly have maximum bang for its buck with Dwight there.
“It serves Adidas no purpose. They need them as rivals in competing markets.”
Howard knows this, too. He has an Adidas renewal on deck in the next year, and Los Angeles and Brooklyn guarantee him maximum money. The shoes aren’t the sole season, but it’s a reality. In an NBA where the owners want the superstars worth $50 million and more to make far less than market value, it’s hard to imagine you’ll get them to take far less on endorsements.
For the record, Adidas’ vice president for global basketball, Lawrence Norman, says: “As a partner, we’re completely supportive of Dwight with whatever decision he makes. He’s an outstanding partner with broad appeal to fans across the world.”
Norman is telling the truth: Adidas will still pay Howard well wherever he winds up, but Orlando and Chicago won’t get him paid and marketed the way Los Angeles and Brooklyn will. Rose could become the highest-paid shoe endorser in the NBA with his next Adidas contract, sources said, and remember: Shoe companies don’t market teams. They market individuals. That’s true of the NBA, too.
That’s why Howard will end up with the Lakers or the Nets – Los Angeles or New York.