Nike won’t match the $200 million offer Adidas made to NBA superstar James Harden, according to the sartorial display by Harden and his Kardashian at the Drew League games. (TMZ reports that the couple came decked out all in Adidas.) Oregon-based market leader Nike had its feet held to the negotiation fire last summer over retaining Kevin Durant. Durant was offered nearly $300 million by Under Armour, but Durant’s agent Jay Z merely used the Under Armour deal as bait to get Nike to match.
Nike obviously doesn’t want to get into a routine of playing chicken with other brands, having to match outlandish offers for its stable of star players. Harden is represented by Landmark Sports Agency, which counts Nike players like Kobe Bryant as clients. Landmark is likely advising Harden that his brand and beard are unique enough to leave the comforts of Nike for the wilds of Adidas, which is essentially starting over in hoops after giving up its NBA uniform contract (to Nike) and changing gears to sign superstars. Or are Rob Pelinka and Landmark just pulling a Jay Z?