In what became an unexpected bidding war between Nike and Under Armour for the rights to put Kevin Durant’s name on their sneakers, Ol’ Faithful (Nike) beat out the upstart (UA) to hold on to Durant as one of their basketball flag bearers. Nike retained the services of Durant by offering a 10-year deal that will end up being between $265 and $285 million dollars.
Under Armour was rumored to have offered Durant a similar deal, with stock options and a rec center in his mother’s name to be included. Once the offer was made, Durant basically entered himself into restricted free agency, giving Nike the opportunity to match the offer. He informed Nike of what Under Armour had offered him and gave them a deadline. If the terms were not met by the deadline, then Durant would be taking his name to Under Armour.
At the 11th hour, Nike matched the monetary offer made by Under Armour. The deal puts Durant on par with LeBron James in terms of shoe company earnings.
Does this have any effect on Durant’s future in 2016? Probably not. While connecting the imaginary dots, many Thunder fans began to fret when Durant was considering Under Armour. The Baltimore-based company is located near Durant’s home town, and many thought the next domino to fall after signing with Under Armour would be to sign with his hometown Washington Wizards. But now that he’s stuck with Nike, what will people hinge their predictions concerning Durant’s future on?
In all honesty, Durant’s decision about 2016 will always be what it was going to be: a basketball decision. His shoe deal has no bearing on his basketball deal. Durant, like Lebron, is a stand alone superstar that transcends market size. Who would’ve thought that the two most popular players on the planet play in Cleveland and Oklahoma City. Would Nike make more money if Durant played in New York or Los Angeles? Of course. But even in Oklahoma City, Durant makes Nike enough money to justify signing him to a large endorsement deal. And that alone should make Thunder fans less frightened of the future.