You have truly never made it until you have your own shoe. A statement that holds true for many NBA superstars.
With fan favorites like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, John Wall, Damian Lillard, and Kyrie Irving all releasing signature kicks over the last year, the shoe game has grown to be big business in the NBA. One player looking to join that list is James Harden.
You might recall Harden appeared in numerous Foot Locker ads, but surprisingly the Rockets guard doesn’t have a signature kick to his name. That’s a shame because Harden has turned into one of the league’s most marketable players.
One company to keep an eye on over the next couple of years is Under Armour. The Baltimore-based company has been extremely aggressive in all avenues of sports, but basketball might be their biggest opportunity for growth. The company recently released the first Steph Curry signature shoe in April, and has its sights set on expanding its empire.
Under Armour went hard at Kevin Durant during the summer of 2014. In fact, they offered him a contract in the $270 million range. However, Nike quickly put an end to their efforts and signed Durant to a 10-year $300 million deal. It’s no secret that Under Armour wants to have a large piece of the basketball apparel market, and the only way to counter Nike is to add more talent.
Nike has Jordan, Lebron, and Durant, three of the most dominant players in league history. Under Armour only has one player in its arsenal, and that’s Curry.
This is where Harden comes into play, because signing him would be a major addition to the companies roster. The marketability of Harden has never been higher. After putting up MVP like numbers this season he is one of the league’s most recognizable, and dominant, players. You can find him in ads for Taco Bell and the aforementioned Foot Locker.
His signature beard is marketing gold, and would make for some pretty entertaining slogans.
Harden’s shoe deal with Nike expires in the Fall of 2015. That means he is free to sign with any company he chooses. It’s likely that he will seek a signature shoe/apparel line in any deal he strikes. Under Armour wants to expand itself into the basketball world, and obtaining Harden’s services is a big step in the right direction