When a company pays huge amounts of money to an athlete so he or she will be able to endorse its products, it does so under the assumption that the athlete will actually be able to hold up their end of the bargain. In most cases, this holds true, but not so much for the NBA’s John Wall. The Washington Wizards point guard has been riding the pine for almost two years due to injuries and his number-one endorsement deal with Adidas is now in question.
Adidas is reportedly interested in negotiating a buy-out of the All-Star player’s contract. The sports apparel and shoe company signed a deal with Wall at the beginning of last year that would have lasted five years, but he ended up on the injured list shortly after and hasn’t been much of a force in the league ever since. Thanks to a bad knee, he missed 27 games after signing the agreement and also missed out on an appearance at what would have been his fifth All-Star Game.
Wall was finally able to recuperate and get back on the court, but had to exit again last December for an injury to the Achilles tendon in his left ankle. He limped back in this past February, only to tear the tendon and put him on the bench once more. The result has been Wall sitting on the bench ever since and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis doesn’t expect him to return until next season.
The Adidas/Wall deal was the second between the two. From 2013-2015, he was sporting JWall signature sneakers from the company after they swept him away from Reebok. He would go onto carry out a couple of seasons without a shoe deal after 2015 after he and Adidas couldn’t reach common ground on a new contract, but the two then reconciled and signed a contract in January 2018 worth $25 million.
There hasn’t been any word on how much Adidas might try to offer Wall to get out of the contract, nor is there any information regarding any injury stipulations that might be in the contract. It goes without saying that Adidas would have at least attempted to put something into the agreement, but Wall most likely would have ensured that he was protected at the same time.
The feet are where the money is in the NBA. Salary caps have made it so baseball players, in many cases, now earn more, so basketballers have been looking for different ways to supplement their income. In many cases, endorsement deals can be the main source of income and, in a few, can mean an enormous payday for players.
Among the most lucrative endorsement deals ever made in the NBA are ones seen by players such as Dwayne Wade, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and, of course, Michael Jordan. Wade certainly can’t complain about pulling down $14 million a year in deals with Hublot watches, Gatorade and New Era, among others, and Westbrook’s $19-million-a-year contracts with Nike, Samsung and more is a great way for him to pad his bank account.
Despite not being the league’s leading money man in terms of salary, James makes up the difference in endorsement deals with Coke, Kia, Intel et al worth $52 million, while Jordan remains the off- and on-court deals champ. $110 million a year puts him at the top of the charts and that record is going to be hard to beat.
One player came close. Derrick Rose signed a deal with Adidas in 2012 worth $185 million. However, just like Wall, injuries have kept him off the courts for much of his tenure ever since and, although he’s on the Detroit Pistons squad, is still prone to injuries.