Just before being selected first overall in this month's NBA Draft, Ben Simmons inked a 5-year endorsement deal with Nike worth a reported $20 million.
The announcement, which Simmons made himself on Uninterrupted, ended a bidding war between Nike and adidas for the Aussie phenom's services. On the surface, it seems simple, but as USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt reports, getting Simmons officially Swooshed up was anything but.
Simmons and his reps at the LeBron James-affiliated Klutch Sports first met with adidas on May 5, followed by a Nike meeting four days later. Not completely satisfied with initial offers, Simmons waited patiently as they negotiated with both companies. Ultimately, they were able to reach a deal with Nike, who reportedly included incentive-based bonuses that will push the figure above $20 million should Simmons win awards like All-Rookie, Rookie of the Year, first-team All-NBA and MVP. Both Nike and adidas finished with higher offers than they started with.
Though Simmons is represented by Rich Paul, longtime friend of James and Klutch CEO, sources say that adidas had a real shot at landing the coveted rookie. In the end, they proposed a similar dollar amount, but wanted to include protections that would reduce the value of the deal if Simmons didn't reach certain statistical benchmarks. Adidas went on to sign 5 of the top 7 picks in the draft.
After letting Curry slip away, it's been said that Nike was willing to do all they could to reel in a potential superstar. For now, Simmons fits that billing.