Russel Westbrook signs massive 10 year contract extension with Jordan Brand over $300 MillionPOSTED ON:
Sep 13 2017
It’s been decades since Jordan Brand had an athlete on its roster capable of transcending the game both on and off the court. The last player to do it was Michael Jordan himself.
But Tuesday night, that reportedly changed.
Westbrook signed a 10-year mega extension with Jordan Brand, according to ESPN’s Nick DePaula, making him the brand’s biggest name and top endorser. Westbrook reigns over names like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin as the best of the best for the Nike subsidiary.
This comes on the heels of Westbrook’s first MVP season where he shattered triple-double records left and right. He became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961 to average a triple-double and now owns the triple-double record with 42 in a single season.
Westbrook’s season was so spectacular, Jordan himself sent the all-star point guard a note congratulating him on his season and giving him more motivation to win a championship. Jordan has always had an affinity for Westbrook — he even went as far as to say Westbrook reminds him of himself. Now, it’s up to Westbrook to carry Jordan’s brand to new heights.
This deal represents a changing of the guard with Jordan Brand
Because of the specter of Jordan himself, it’s always been difficult to get athletes to join Jordan Brand instead of Nike, its parent company. It has always been difficult for athletes to build up their shoe lines under the brand.
Many have tried and failed. Names like Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Richard Hamilton, and Ray Allen come to mind.
Westbrook changes that. He will get all of that attention and then some. He signed a 10-year deal, which carries him well through his prime and likely into his retirement as an NBA player barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Historically, Jordan Brand’s biggest struggle is that only the retro products are profitable. The original Jordan series — specifically the Jordans worn throughout MJ’s playing career — have been big sellers for the brand and, by extension, Nike.
“The categories that are growing right now are casual athletic shoes and retro shoes,” Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst with the NPD group, told SB Nation.
But business still isn’t quite booming for retro sneakers, and Jordan Brand is still behind Nike and Adidas in total market share at eight percent. The brand needed to be reinvigorated.
Westbrook does that. He’s the triple-double king. He’s an explosive, mean, and tough player who literally does everything for his team on the court. Off the court, he might be even more marketable as a newly wedded father with a fashion obsession.
The brand needed a generational athlete to take it to new heights, and now they have one they believe in with Westbrook.
Westbrook will get not one, but two signature shoes
On his previous five-year deal signed in 2013, Westbrook got a number of player exclusives through Jordan Brand from the original Jordan series as well as sneakers outside of it. Now, Westbrook will become one of two active athletes to have two lines of signature sneakers, according to DePaula’s report.
There are 18 players in the NBA who have at least one signature shoe, but only LeBron James has two with his original line as well as the Zoom Soldier line. Now Westbrook will join him in that exclusive company.
Westbrook already has a signature lifestyle Jordan Brand shoe with the Westbrook 0 and 0.2, but now, according to the report, he’ll also get a shoe to wear on the court. The Oklahoma City Thunder all-star wore the Jordan 31 throughout last season. Though he managed to make the shoe synonymous with his play style, and even scored his own player exclusives with the brand, it still wasn’t his in name.
Now, Westbrook gets something to call his own, one for which he’ll have design input as well. Most signature sneaker athletes have some say in how their shoes are designed, but only to varying degrees. As a fashion savant, Westbrook is sure to have significant input into what both products look like.
This opens up possibilities for Westbrook’s NBA future
Westbrook just signed the biggest shoe contract of his career. While the dollar amount hasn’t been reported, the deal is likely to be extremely lucrative. He’s one of Jordan Brand and, by extension, Nike’s best athletes now — they don’t commit long-term to just anyone.
Still, Westbrook has his future with the Oklahoma City Thunder to consider. He still has a five-year, $207 million extension on the table from his team. That is plenty of money that will always be difficult to pass up, but Westbrook’s extension with Jordan Brand gives him something more to consider.
We won’t even begin to try to speculate on what’s going through Westbrook’s mind right now. He just signed one deal and has another on the table. We’re just pointing out an additional factor he now has to consider with his future.
That factor cuts both ways. On the one hand, having a huge deal from Jordan Brand certainly makes passing up the Thunder’s guaranteed extension offer an easier pill to swallow. At the same time, having his shoe deal and the Thunder’s extension would make the pot much sweeter for the league’s newly crowned MVP.
The Jordan deal might not make a difference one way or another, but it’s certainly something Westbrook will consider when making his decision. Maybe now that he has one deal out of the way with Jordan Brand, he’ll be able to take care of another with the Thunder.