Numbers get thrown around about shoe deals that are massive… and unrealistic.
As noted in a Forbes story on how much players actually make on shoe deals, what gets published is often the optimistic, maximum high-end of the deals. Reality tends to be harsher.
LeBron James: $32 million, Nike
Sales of James’ signature shoes are down this season, but he still sells more sneakers than any other active NBA player, according to NPD Group. He inked a lifetime extension with Nike in late 2015. The deal could be worth $1 billion, according to his business manager Maverick Carter. James will only see 10-figures from the Swoosh going forward if James can move significant product long after he’s left the NBA.
Kevin Durant: $25 million, Nike
Durant’s seven-year, rookie shoe deal with Nike was worth $60 million (bonuses added millions more when sales took off and Durant won a league MVP and four scoring titles). He inked a 10-year extension with the sportswear giant in 2014 worth as much as $300 million, including royalties. Sales of KD’s signature shoe are off significantly the last two seasons and ranked fourth among players over the last 12 months, per NPD.
That’s an impressive amount of additional income, but it still pales compared to the estimated $110 million Michael Jordan still gets annually from his Nike deal. Insert your easy “LeBron still chasing/will never catch Jordan” joke here.