Thoughts On Nike, Under Armour, and Kevin Durant

Over the last few weeks, you’ve watched the saga unfold. Kevin Durant, the 2014 NBA MVP and five-time All NBA first team selection had a bidding war going around him as Nike and Under Armour competed for his services.

If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s a quick background. KD was in the last year of his contract with Nike, and Under Armour, looking to make a power play and sign a new face of their brand, offered him a 10 year, $250 million dollar deal, vastly eclipsing his expiring 7 year, $60 million dollar expiring deal with Nike.

To a lot of people, it made sense. KD and Under Armour seemed like it could be a good fit. UA needed a signature athlete, and it didn’t hurt that both the brand and the player are from the DMV area. However, as they often do, Nike stepped in and upped the ante.

Last Sunday, KD signed a 10 year, $300 million dollar deal with Nike that also includes a $50 million retirement fund. A member of KD’s camp was quoted as saying that if the Nike deal was anywhere near what UA was offering, KD would stay with Nike, as it’s always been his favorite brand.

Side note: Let’s be real here. If you had to pick between UA and Nike, and the offers were close, which brand would you choose? Thought so.

So now that the story background is out of the way, I wanted to share a few quick thoughts I had on the situation, from his move to some of the other stuff that was going on surrounding the decision.

I for one am very glad that KD didn’t sign with UA. Although it might have been interesting to see what they could cook up for him, they don’t seem to have a great track record of promoting their “signature athletes”, if you will. Guys like Cam Newton and Georges St.-Pierre (two incredibly talented athletes in their own right) don’t seem to be getting the push that they would with the Nike PR machine behind them.

Also, Nike and KD have been cooking up some really dope kicks. Although I was iffy on last year’s KD 6 (too much soccer inspiration for my tastes), the 7’s are crazy and I’m generally a fan of the kicks that they’ve been putting out.

Lastly, there’s one thing I hope doesn’t happen. Everyone seems to be going on about how Jay-Z (yeah, he’s KD’s agent if you didn’t know) is a mastermind for leveraging Nike and UA against each other. That’s not masterful at all. Anyone with a basic business knowledge would realize they had both companies right where they wanted them, and could use that to drive up KD’s endorsement value. No disrespect to Hova of course, but it’s not like he had to do a lot of wheeling and dealing in this situation.

That wraps my thoughts on the whole situation up. All in all, it went how I thought it would. Didn’t think Nike would let one of their best athletes walk to a competitor who is aggressively trying to increase their market share. Here’s to many more years of dope KD models!


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