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Volume 24 No. 199
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Russell Westbrook's 10-Year Jordan Brand Extension Includes Signature Sneakers

Thunder G Russell Westbrook has signed a "10-year extension with Nike's Jordan Brand that will be the most lucrative total endorsement deal for a Jordan athlete to date," according to sources cited by Nick DePaula of ESPN.com. After first signing a five-year endorsement deal in '13, Westbrook has been "positioned as the face of the brand and the annual Air Jordan model each subsequent season." The shoe deal extension, negotiated by Wasserman and Westbrook's longtime agent, Thad Foucher, is "in advance of the initial deal's expiration next fall." Sources said that the "increased pay rate will retroactively apply" to his '16-17 MVP season. The long-term extension will "link the 28-year-old Westbrook with Jordan Brand" through as long as the '25-26 season. The deal will "include both on- and off-court signature sneakers, new territory for Westbrook." The brand "launched two off-court-geared silhouettes, dubbed the Westbrook 0.1 and 0.2, but held off on designing him a performance signature shoe for the hardwood." With the extension "locked in, the process is underway to begin developing an on-court Westbrook signature shoe." A source said that the shoe is "expected to highlight his flashy and unpredictable fashion lens -- 'unlike anything that Jordan Brand has done before.'" Rather than "invest resources into designing, developing and marketing another possibly short-lived signature line, Jordan Brand wanted to first ensure that Westbrook would be with the company for the long haul." Just after agreeing to the extension, Westbrook and Jordan Brand "embarked on a multicity, rapid-fire tour of China." As part of the new deal, Jordan Brand will "contribute an annual donation to Westbrook's "Why Not?" Foundation. The deal also "includes a rare 'ambassador clause,' providing Westbrook with appearance opportunities and additional Jordan Brand legacy potential even after he retires from the NBA" (ESPN.com, 9/12).

POTENTIAL IMPACT: In Oklahoma City, Brett Dawson notes Westbrook is "entering what can be the final year of his contract" with the Thunder. He is "eligible for a five-year maximum contract extension that, when combined with the upcoming season, would make for a six-year contract" worth more than $235M. That would be the "richest deal in NBA history." It is "unclear how the new Jordan Brand deal might impact that decision." A point "in favor of Westbrook signing the five-year extension now is that it locks in financial stability for six years at age 28." But the shoe contract money could "take away some of the incentive to lock in with one team, even at such a high salary" (OKLAHOMAN, 9/13).