The NBA has become a lucrative business opportunity for players, owners, brands and advertisers looking to get in on a league that continues to grow in popularity.
Look no further than the $60 million, three-year endorsement deal the Golden State Warriors signed with Japanese tech company Rakuten to feature their brand as a small square on their freshly-designed Nike uniforms.
There's money to be made for everyone involved in the NBA today, with the league taking advantage of a huge television rights deal that's led to exponential growth under commissioner Adam Silver. There's more money than ever to be had in the business of basketball, and Russell Westbrook is taking full advantage of that.
Westbrook has signed a 10-year extension with Nike's Jordan Brand, which will be the "most lucrative total endorsement deal" for anyone under Jordan Brand, according to Nick DePaula of ESPN.
Westbrook has been the unofficial face of the brand for some time, though players like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have also kept Jordan Brand as one of the top companies in the league. There won't be any question about who the star of Nike's sub-brand is now.
The endorsement deal also includes brand new signature sneaker lines for Westbrook. Not only will he be getting an on-court player model, but also off-court signature look. Jordan Brand already dabbled in the off-court signature shoe for Westbrook with the Westbrook 0.1 and 0.2, but the company is all-in now.
The new on-court shoe for Westbrook will be "unlike anything that Jordan Brand has done before," sources told DePaula, which is fitting. Westbrook's personality and flashy style is one of the many things that set him apart as one of the NBA's most interesting superstars.
All of this is without even mentioning he's the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, is coming off of a season where he single-handedly carried the Oklahoma City Thunder without Kevin Durant, and broke Oscar Robertson's triple-double record.
Yes, the endorsement deal is huge for Westbrook, but it's definitely a two-way street. There are few standalone stars as dominant as Russell is, and Jordan Brand just locked up one of the most exciting athletes in professional sports for an entire decade, at least.
Considering Westbrook is 28 years old right now, this essentially becomes a "lifetime" deal through his playing career. Jordan Brand has its franchise player locked in, something the Thunder themselves may be envious of with his potential free agency next summer.