James Harden will have to stop wearing Air Jordans due to Adidas deal

ByDarren Rovell ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A couple of days after new Adidas spokesman James Harden was spotted wearing Air Jordans, owned by competitor Nike, the president of Adidas North America said Harden's days wearing the Jumpman are numbered.

Asked whether Harden will have to stop wearing his Air Jordan collection in public when the deal officially commences Oct. 1, Adidas' Mark King said, "That's part of the deal."

"The difference between football and basketball is that a guy like Aaron Rodgers doesn't have a walk-around shoe," King said. "Harden does, and he will be in our lifestyle stuff."

Harden was spotted wearing the Air Jordans by TMZ on Friday while walking out of a movie theater with girlfriend Khloe Kardashian, who was wearing an Adidas sweatshirt and sweatpants. Kardashian's brother-in-law is Kanye West, the name behind the coveted Adidas Yeezy line.

Harden left Nike last month to sign a 13-year, $200 million deal with Adidas. One of the reasons Adidas agreed to pay what it did is that the company believed Harden has the off-the-court buzz to boost its lifestyle business.

Endorsing a competitor could be grounds for termination. In 2001, Reebok -- which is now owned by Adidas -- ended its deal with Shawn Kemp after he told a newspaper reporter that the shoes of today weren't made as well and that his favorite pair of shoes were Nikes. Both sides sued each other, which ultimately led to a settlement.

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