Adidas has just one year left on its 11-year partnership with the NBA as the league’s official uniform and apparel supplier. While the global shoe and apparel company bowed out to Nike’s 8-year, $1 billion NBA deal, it does not mean the company plans to move on from the sport. Far from it, in fact.
When Adidas decided not to pursue an extension with the NBA in the spring of 2015, spokesperson Lauren Lamkin issued a statement saying “We will invest more in telling stories that matter to our consumer, building category-disrupting innovative products, reinvigorating youth basketball with our new Next Generation programs and doubling our roster of professional athletes to authenticate our brand on-court.”
15-months later, the Adidas strategy is starting to see some results. First, they gave Nike a run for its money when it came time to sign Australian born Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick of the NBA Draft. Nike was the heavy favorite in signing Simmons as they had made early in roads in high school and with his agency, Klutch Sports Group, but Adidas made an extremely competitive bid. Not to be dismayed, Adidas then went on and signed five of the first seven NBA Draft picks. The coup included the No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram (Lakers), the No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown (Celtics), the No. 4 pick Dragan Bender (Suns), the No. 5 pick Kris Dunn (Timberwolves), and the No. 7 pick Jamal Murray (Pelicans).
Just like how Nike made in roads with Simmons, the courtship of Ingram and Brown began in the youth basketball leagues as both played on AAU teams on the Adidas circuit. In fact, Ingram began his basketball ascension almost two years ago playing against Jaylen Brown at an Adidas sponsored summer camp with a plethora of big name college coaches in attendance.
Now, Adidas also has announced an extended partnership with Kanye West that will include male and female footwear and apparel products to go with co-branded retail stores. This comes on top of the two-year partnership that has existed between Adidas and Kanye which produced the extremely popular Yeezy sneaker and Boost silhouettes which could start to see their way onto the feet of some of the recent NBA draft picks.
While the NBA partnership will no longer exist after this upcoming season, Adidas is certainly making its move to reclaim market share from its competitors. A plethora of lottery picks and a Kanye West coupled with already established superstars such as James Harden and Damian Lillard will make Adidas a formidable foe in the NBA for years to come.