Damian Lillard has been riding a lucrative shoe endorsement deal with Adidas since his rookie season. However; since Lillard has met all of the ambitious loopholes in his contract (Rookie of the Year, NBA All-Star, etc), he has the option to opt out. An option he will exercise according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.
This means that competing companies such as Nike, Reebok, and Under Armor are preparing to one-up each other in pursuit of the Trail Blazers budding star. Not coincidentally, Lillard has become one of the most marketable athletes in the NBA after making All-Star history by competing in all five major events.
For some perspective on what he stands to gain from opting out, the multiyear deal of Adidas headliner Derrick Rose is worth approximately $200 million. It could be that Adidas is willing to up the ante in order to keep the healthy Lillard on the books, but Nike chairman Phil Knight has deep pockets as well.
Last year, Lillard got his first taste of commercial success in an advertisement featuring fellow point guards John Wall and Jrue Holiday. Adidas must have spent a pretty penny on the 45 second spot that was narrated by Hip Hop up-and-comer A$AP Rocky and included CGI for a shoe-shaped gymnasium.
Because of Lillard’s continued ascension, Adidas would have to more than double down if they hope to capitalize on their partnership. Otherwise, we may be seeing kids hooping in Jordan Brand Damian Lillards. Price hike aside, a Portland player with his own namesake shoe line doesn’t sound half bad.
At this point, Lillard would have to steamroll a box of kittens to tarnish his immaculate image, so there aren’t really any negatives to signing with whoever pushes the largest check under his nose. No matter which suitor he selects, be prepared to see a lot more Lillard in the world of athletic apparel advertising.