The game’s biggest names — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the like — make more in endorsements and deals off the court than on it.
Dirk Nowitzki could be one of those guys. Right now companies are willing to back Brinks trucks up to his house if he just signs on the dotted line.
“There certainly isn’t a shortage of offers,” Nowitzki recently told the German magazine Spiegel. “You wouldn’t believe how many watch manufacturers have sent me their models. Just like that. I give them all away. I am satisfied with what I have. How crazy do you have to be when you can afford everything but still clutter up your life with all sorts of advertising appointments? No thanks….”
It’s difficult to say how much money Nowitzki is leaving on the table, but several industry sources speculated that the number would easily be in the tens of millions over the rest of his career…
But perhaps by turning down endorsements, it will be easier for Nowitzki to maintain his appeal as a different kind of NBA star. It wasn’t just his play during the finals that captured the public’s imagination, but rather his role as the foil to LeBron James. Unlike James, Nowitzki never made a big deal of his free agency last summer, quietly re-signing with Dallas for less money. Unlike James, he was clutch in the fourth quarter. And unlike James, he was only interested in winning championship, not becoming the face of a watch company.
In a way, turning down so much money makes Nowitzki more likable than ever.
Nowitzki isn’t hurting, he has made $141.3 million over his career and is owed more than $62 million on his new deal. But in our society, how many people would walk away from easily making more?