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Harden To Adidas: Why It’s Worth It

On August 13th, James Harden signed a $200 Million deal with Adidas after Nike decided it would be unwise to match the offer. The 25 year-old swingman, fresh off an incredible playoff performance, displayed an arsenal of offensive power while also vastly improving as a defender. While Harden is a dominant force on the court, does he really have the fanbase and personality to compete with names such as Michael Jordan or LeBron James?

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 8: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets goes to the basket against the New York Knicks on January 8, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 8: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

What we know:

    • James Harden was not a part of Nike Basketball’s Primary Marketing Plan. Now with Adidas, he will be featured as the primary spokesperson for Adidas.
    • While Nike dominates the basketball market (92.7% Market Share), they have less signature athletes (5.5% for Adidas).

Statistic: Share of the U.S. basketball shoe market in 2013, by company/brand | StatistaFind more statistics at Statista

  • Based from News Generation and Nielsen, Houston has the tenth-highest media market in the United States.
  • China has become an enormous follower of the Houston Rockets due to former big-man Yao Ming. When playing on the Rockets, Tracy McGrady’s jersey and sneaker sales increased overseas due to his success. While Yao Ming has since retired and many have stopped supporting the Rockets, Harden is still an incredibly popular figure and could experience the same treatment that was once received by T-Mac.
  • If you haven’t experienced Adidas Boost, you’re missing out. The foam was introduced less than two years ago, it has since become a favorite of both running enthusiast and “sneakerheads.” Boost was first used in running shoes and has expanded to basketball and football models. While Adidas hasn’t perfected the use of Boost in basketball footwear, they’re not too far away. Harden will have enormous pull in the design process of his first signature shoe and I can bet that his first model will carry the foam.
Adidas Boost Technology
Adidas Boost Technology – FleetFeetChicago


  • Nike won’t miss James Harden. They had seven years to create the Harden brand, but Nike decided to focus on the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
  • Adidas now has a “Starting Five,” of signature athletes. Harden is now paired with Derrick Rose, John Wall, Dwight Howard, and Damian Lillard. The group is primarily young, well-received, and has an opportunity to give Nike a run for their money.
  • Adidas has made incredible innovation over the past two years and Harden has the possibility to become not the face of Adidas Basketball, but anyone else who is attempting to diminish Nike’s control on the basketball footwear industry.

Michael Anders View All

Born in NYC x Raised in VA

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