Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had a record breaking year last season. The reigning NBA MVP has emerged as a superstar in the league and has further expanded his brand portfolio by signing a 10-year extension with Nike’s Jordan Brand. The deal, according to industry sources, is the “most lucrative total endorsement deal for a Jordan athlete to date.”
As Westbrook’s on-court performance has been elevated to new levels, so has his off-court brand. He has slowly become the face of the brand after first signing an endorsement deal in 2013. The five-year deal was set to expire next year, but his agent. Thad Foucher of Wasserman, negotiated the extension in advance.
As brands evolve and get more exposure, “shoe free agents” are becoming almost as lucrative as the players who wear them. At UCLA, Westbrook wore Adidas (as the school was sponsored by the brand), but once he made it to the NBA he wore Nikes during his first four years. Playing alongside fellow Nike athlete, Kevin Durant, the company wanted to have a “dual-brand presence.” Eventually, Nike aligned him with Jordan.
His play during the 2016-17 NBA season earned him MVP honors after becoming the first player to average a triple double (31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists) since Oscar Robertson in 1962. Thanks to Foucher’s negotiating, the increased pay rate of his new deal retroactively applies to last season.
The deal, which runs through the 2025-26 NBA season, includes both on- and off-court signature sneakers for the 28-year-old point guard. Known for his pre-game fashion choices, his off-court shoes will be in sharp contrast to the ones he will wear on the court. Additionally, the deal includes an “ambassador clause,” which provides him with appearance opportunities and “legacy potential” with the brand even after he retires from the NBA.