James Harden is much more of a public figure now that he is dating Khloe Kardashian. As long as he is dating the reality star, more aspects of his life will be covered and photographed, and that’s a problem for the company with whom Harden just signed a $200 million endorsement contract. Harden was photographed leaving a movie wearing Air Jordan sneakers. The problem is that the company that just gave him his enormous shoe deal is adidas.
Adidas apparently made it clear to Harden that he won’t have the same liberties starting Oct. 1, so Harden ought to wear all the Nikes and Jordans he has in his closet for the next two weeks. When a company is paying someone $200 million, it is paying for exclusivity. If Harden launches a lifestyle brand to go with his basketball shoe, it would further justify adidas’ concern.
This isn’t the first time a brand has asked — told — a client what they can and cannot wear. Jimbo Fisher and Florida State were contacted by Nike after Fisher’s son was caught on camera wearing Under Armour gear.
Michael Colangelo is Managing Editor of The Fields of Green and Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.