Adidas AG has pried Houston Rockets player James Harden away from rival Nike with a multi-year, multi-million dollar endorsement deal, according to media reports.
The deal could earn the 25-year-old shooting guard up to $200 million over 13 years, nearly matching his annual salary with the Rockets, according to the ESPN report. ESPN said Harden's agent confirmed late Thursday that Nike had declined to match the offer.
The contract marks Adidas first addition to its NBA roster since it announced in March that it would walk away from an 11-year outfitting and marketing deal with the NBA and shift marketing dollars to doubling its NBA player endorsements. Nike, which subsequently acquired the NBA rights, has now essentially walked away from Harden, who was one of several NBA stars on the Nike roster, which includes Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving.
In February, Adidas told stock analysts that turning around its Americas business was the highest priority this year, and that it would ramp investments to sign NBA, NFL and MLB player as well as college teams. Adidas' NBA roster already includes Damian Lillard, John Wall, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Andrew Wiggins, Tim Duncan and Joakim Noah.