Oct 15, 2013, 2:06 PM EDT
One of the most interesting, and underreported, aspects of Andrew Wiggins’ decision to enroll at Kansas instead of Florida State, North Carolina and Kentucky had little to do with basketball and everything to do with shoes.
Wiggins came up as a Nike kid. He played for the CIA Bounce, which is affiliated with Nike. Huntington Prep, Wiggins’ high school, was sponsored by the swoosh as well. But Kansas is an Adidas school, which more or less goes against everything that we’ve ever been told about shoe companies and recruiting.
How could Nike let the most hyped prospect in years end up at an Adidas school?
Perhaps more interesting: Who will Wiggins sign with when he gets out of college, and how much will that contract guarantee him?
Well, according to this story from Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, Wiggins could be looking at a 10-year deal worth somewhere between $140 million and $180 million. That’s a lot of money.
Zwerling’s story is a fascinating look at certain aspects of the shoe industry. For example, if Nike shelled out that kind of money for Wiggins and made a push to turn him into one of the bigger names in the company, would that anger their two biggest stars, Lebron and Kevin Durant? What about Kobe? Would he take kindly to the swoosh making a bid to bring his defacto replacement under the company’s wing? How would Kyrie Irving feel, seeing as he may be passed over as the next big thing?
Zwerling also points out that something that I never realized about the shoe business: the companies don’t profit off of these massive contracts. Lebron didn’t become profitable under his ninth season with Nike. That’s not exactly a great business model.
More than anything, however, here’s the takeaway you should have when reading those numbers: it’s a joke to say that college athletes are getting a fair deal with a scholarship when Nike would be willing to pay Wiggins somewhere around $15 million a year to wear their shoes. Granted, Wiggins is an exception, not a rule; his value is rooted in how unique he is as a prospect.
But what about a guy like Marcus Smart? He’s an all-american that returned to school and he has a future in the NBA. You don’t think there’s significant value there? Or what about a guy like Alex Len? He played at Maryland, where Under Armour founder Kevin Plank went to school. Under Armour is trying to break into the basketball shoe market. You don’t think they would have been willing to spend some money to get him under the UA umbrella once they realized he had a shot to make the league?
This is an argument that takes a lot more than just a 400 word blog post to make, but it is worth pointing out just how much value some of these “amateurs” and “student-athletes” actually have.
Jun 30, 2015, 11:55 AM EDT
Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum led the way for the Americans.
Jun 30, 2015, 11:26 AM EDT
Cal’s name seems to always pop up in the NBA.
Jun 30, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT
It will be expanded into a full-length movie.
Jun 30, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
It’s fun to watch Tacko Fall dominate high school competition.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT
Maverick Rowan is reportedly focused on three schools.
Jun 29, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT
UCF is losing its third-leading scorer from last season to transfer.
Jun 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT
Xavier landed a three-star forward on Monday.
Jun 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
Former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg returned to Hilton Coliseum to give one final pre-game speech before a fantasy camp.
Jun 29, 2015, 4:52 PM EDT
It should not be a surprise who the best player from this class ended up being.
Jun 29, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
Tony Hawk approves this court.
Jun 29, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
Ryan has never finished below fourth in the Big Ten.
Jun 29, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT
Mullin has completely turned over the St. John’s roster.
Jun 29, 2015, 11:27 AM EDT
Knight’s most famous outburst may be lost to history.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:26 AM EDT
There are 22 total players participating in the trials.
Jun 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Steve Alford now has a pair of 2017 commitments.
Jun 28, 2015, 10:01 PM EDT
This is a very well thought-out statement from Martin.
Jun 28, 2015, 6:29 PM EDT
Johnny Jones has done an excellent job of recruiting his state in recent years.
Jun 28, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT
South Florida brought in an experienced guard who can contribute after sitting out a transfer season.
Jun 28, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT
Maryland transfer Robert Carter has worked on his conditioning since arriving from Georgia Tech.
Jun 28, 2015, 1:19 PM EDT
The USA U19 team is off to a 2-0 start at the FIBA World Championships.
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