Kristaps Porzingis’ popularity has evolved from being just a top jersey seller in the NBA as he's now on the cusp of one of the most lucrative sneaker deals in history.
The Latvian big man, preparing to start his second NBA season with the New York Knicks, is nearing a deal with Adidas that would pay him between $3 to $6 million per year, according to Nick DePaula of The Vertical. This is just one season after Porzingis’ No.6 Knicks jersey was the fourth best selling in the NBA, trailing Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant, according to the International Business Times.
“I wasn’t really focused on getting a big [sneaker] deal during the summer, but that’s how it worked and I’m happy they see me as a European player who can not only be a player but have some effect off the court,” Porzingis told The New York Daily News.
The proposed deal from Adidas is the largest ever extended to a European-born NBA player, including Dirk Nowitzki. Porzingis noted that his current sneaker endorser, Nike, still has the opportunity to match Adidas’ offer – which seems unlikely.
DePaula writes that Nike has until mid-October to match “the exact terms” of the Adidas contract due to the brand’s standard “right to match” clause. However, sources told him Nike is not expected to match the deal.
The new deal with Adidas may lead to Porzingis having his own signature shoe. But he’s not concerning himself with future perks or living up to the standards of past and current European stars.
“That doesn’t mean I’m a better player than Dirk Nowitzki, they just see me as somebody that’s good off the court, see me with kids and that kind of stuff,” Porzingis said. “And they see that potential in me that one day I can be that good. It’s in my hands now to prove that I am what they believe I can be.”