Durant loves Nike. He’s always worn them. He just won the NBA MVP playing in his Nike KDs and things are looking up. He took time off from USA Basketball to hit the NBA season rested and running–trying to add a championship trophy to his MVP hardware. But first he has to decide whether to jump off the luxurious Nike ship for Under Armour. Under Armour is a booming brand–it’s stock is zooming. And it’s making inroads everywhere, except shoes. (It does okay in shoes, but okay isn’t in Under Armour CEO/Founder Kevin Planck‘s vocabulary.) The apparel company wants to be a shoe company also–a legit competitor with Nike–but Nike’s got shoes in its DNA. It started, after all, with runners customizing sneakers with a waffle iron–so Under Armour has had a hard time penetrating the market. Solution? How about the second biggest young name in basketball?
Everyone might wish to have Durant’s dilemma. Should he go with Under Armour in a deal ESPN says is worth more than $265 million over ten years? Or stay with Nike, which pays less? (Nike can also match the Under Armour deal–but it’ll try to sell Durant on the Nike brand’s benefits beyond the cash, while still paying handsomely, no doubt.) Amazingly, people really really care about this. Fans have professed that Durant’s leaving Nike is tantamount to treason! (But they’re okay with him leaving Team USA.) Durant is represented by hip hop mogul Jay Z’s Roc Nation–which gets paid a percentage on the dollars Durant brings in. That may be a factor. Jay Z has yet to perform a song in which he does not boast about having the most money.