*A couple of days after NBA star James Harden signed a 13-year, $200 million deal with Adidas, TMZ cameras caught him out and about – still wearing his Nike Air Jordans.
Adidas was not happy.
Mark King, the president of Adidas North America, was asked by ESPN if Harden will have to stop wearing his Air Jordan collection in public when the deal officially begins Oct. 1. King said, “That’s part of the deal.”
“The difference between football and basketball is that a guy like Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have a walk-around shoe,” King said. “Harden does, and he will be in our lifestyle stuff.”
TMZ spotted Harden in his Jordans on Friday while leaving a movie theater with girlfriend Khloe Kardashian, who, ironically, was wearing an Adidas sweatshirt and sweatpants. Kardashian’s brother-in-law, Kanye West, has his own Adidas Yeezy line.
Harden left Nike last month to sign a 13-year, $200 million deal with Adidas. One of the reasons Adidas agreed to pay what it did is that the company believed Harden has the off-the-court buzz to boost its lifestyle business.
Endorsing a competitor could be grounds for termination. In 2001, Reebok — which is now owned by Adidas — ended its deal with Shawn Kemp after he told a newspaper reporter that the shoes of today weren’t made as well and that his favorite pair of shoes were Nikes. Both sides sued each other, which ultimately led to a settlement.