Over the last several years, Adidas has ramped up its efforts in order to challenge Nike in the basketball sneaker market. Today, Adidas took a big step forward by signing Damian Lillard to a long term contract. Lillard is in his second year in the league, but the reigning Rookie of the Year is a force to be reckoned with. This season he is averaging 20.8 points, 5.6 assists, and 3.6 rebound per game. Lillard is one of the brightest young stars in the NBA and Adidas made sure he will be with them for quite some time.
After some speculation that Lillard was looking to sign elsewhere, Adidas quickly put that notion to rest and reportedly signed him to an eight year deal, While the specifics of the contract have not been shared, it is said to be the third largest sneaker endorsement deal. Only LeBron James and Derrick Rose received greater deals.
Here is the full press release from Adidas:
ADIDAS EXTENDS PARTNERSHIP WITH NBA ALL-STAR DAMIAN LILLARD
Star point guard to remain a focal point of adidas Basketball brand
PORTLAND, Ore. (April 14, 2014) – adidas today announced a long-term partnership extension with NBA All-Star point guard Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. The young star will continue to be an integral part of adidas Basketball’s marketing campaigns, product launches and global initiatives moving forward.
“adidas has been great to me over my first two seasons,” said Lillard. “I’ve had the opportunity to wear a lot of great product, help design special versions of shoes, be a part of TV commercials and travel the world with the brand. I’m excited for what the future holds for me and adidas.”
Lillard’s dedication to basketball brought immediate success in his young NBA career, including being named the unanimous Kia NBA Rookie of the Year. This season, Lillard took another step forward, earning a spot on the Western Conference NBA All-Star team where he also became the first player to complete in all five events at All-Star weekend. Lillard’s improvement has led to team success, as the Trail Blazers have clinched a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference for the first time in three seasons.
“Damian has proven to be not only an amazing basketball player, but a great partner, member of the community and someone who creates excitement for our products,” said Chris Grancio, adidas head of global basketball sports marketing. “His leadership and commitment to success on the court and his ability to interact and relate to fans through social media and the community make him the perfect fit to be one of the cornerstones of the adidas brand.”
After being overlooked by large collegiate programs coming out of high school in Oakland, Calif., Lillard attended Weber State University where he excelled for three seasons. Lillard quickly raised his draft status in 2012 where he was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the sixth overall pick. Lillard is currently averaging 21 points, six assists and four rebounds per game for the Trail Blazers.
Other adidas athletes include Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, WNBA MVP Candace Parker and FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi FC Barcelona.