James Harden signs $200 million sponsorship deal with Adidas

By David Kenyon

Adidas has won the bidding war to sponsor Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden and his magnificent beard.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Adidas lured Harden away from Nike with a 13-year, $200 million contract—an average of $15.4 million per season. Per Spotrac, only 34 NBA players earn more than the value of Harden’s sponsorship.

Adidas Global Basketball General Manager said in a statement (h/t Zach Harper, CBS Sports):

“We’re a brand of creators and James embodies that more than any athlete in the game. His addition to the adidas basketball family is a game changer. This partnership gives him the opportunity to achieve his goals and express himself in a totally new way as a creator.

He’s already one of the most recognizable sports figures because of his game, his look, his hunger to win and his style on the off the court. His ceiling is far from reached, which tells you the future for him and our brand looks incredible.”

Harden deserves the notoriety that comes with the mega-deal. Last season, the Arizona State product shredded opponents for a career-high 27.4 points and 7.0 assists per outing. He posted an impressive 118.4 offensive rating.

The Rockets won the ultra-competitive Southwest Division and earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, eventually bowing out to the future NBA-champion Golden State Warriors.

Behind Harden, center Dwight Howard and a solid complement of weapons, Houston should return to the playoffs in 2015-16 and compete for the top seed in the West and ultimately a championship.