Isaiah Saint Hilaire
Odell Beckham Jr was offered one of the most impressive shoe deals in the sports market a few weeks ago. Beckham will make more than $29 million over the course of four years and up to $48 million over eight years. These shoe deals have gotten very common with big star athletes, as we have seen them come alive especially in the NBA. With Nike, we have Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. Under Armor now has the perennial three-point shooter Stephen Curry under their realms. The money that is gained from these deals can only help these superstars become determined to play well. There is a form of bribery here, good play will provide the cash and fame. Not to say these players enjoy the fame, it is the game that should be on their minds, however, everybody wants to have a stable job, as long as their money is coming in, they don’t have to worry about not having a job.
Lebron James’ and his lifetime contract with Nike is worth up to $1 billion. That is a shoe deal that can have a huge impact on the King’s play for the rest of his career. The deal James consists of him consistently playing well, getting his team to the playoffs as well as the Finals as he has done for the seventh consecutive season. James averaged over 26 points per game this past season and with that, is a runner up for the MVP award once again! The accomplishments James has made compelled Nike to make that shoe deal with the star forward because of how business operates. Once a company is being endorsed by athletes, they will find more business in selling with the rest of consumers.
Money is a huge influence to players because it entices them to not only perform like superstars, but put themselves and teams into the postseason, where viewership and marketability reaches its heights. If they have success with their play, companies such as Nike will see that be interested in having them endorse their products. Creating a shoe line such as Beckham did with Nike gives players the credibility in their field. In this case, sports being for all superstars, people look up to them. For Beckham, the Giants superstar wide receiver will be entering his fourth year in the National Football League. The 5’ 11” receiver has not missed a beat, missing his first six games of his career and coming back with a touchdown in 2014 against the Atlanta Falcons. He has eclipsed the 1300 receiving yard mark in each of his first three seasons with the Giants as well as catching at least ten touchdowns in each of those three seasons. Nike has been observing and believed he can be a great promoter for them to entice consumers to their products.
Lebron James has won three championships in the NBA within the past seven years, and has made a finals appearance for seven consecutive years. He has averaged over 25 points a game since the 2010 NBA season showing no signs of aging over 30, even now at 32 years of age. James may say that he wants as many rings as possible but we as fans and spectators know that the money plays a huge role in their accomplishments. It helps them provide for their families and be the breadwinner in the household. Without the money, they would just be performing at their best for simple leisure. The money continues to play a huge role for these athletes because it means they are playing for their lives. Not only are they doing something that they love, but they are performing their best to survive.
Also, the shoe deals opens a powerful door for players. In the past, players’ contracts saw them try to make as much money for themselves as possible because it was their main source of income. In 2015-16, LeBron James made about 23 million dollars from his contract with the Cavaliers, but 44 million from endorsements. The opening of this market puts star players in more control of their teams because they aren’t relying on the team’s contract as their income. When James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade took pay cuts to play in Miami, money from shoe deals and other venues of advertisement more than made up for it. And with Durant taking a cut in pay to play with the Golden State Warriors, the ten year, 300 million contract he signed three years ago again show that players are willing to take cuts in their NBA salary with their shoe deal salary becoming their main moneymaker.
Both Odell Beckham and Lebron James have been proven to be superstars in their field of play. Both players started out in the pros playing like a superstar, both have continued playing like one and that is what has caught the eye of Nike. The shoe deals are nice as it helps them improve their ego and credibility, however the money is what compels both players to play at the highest level they can. These players have been for their ability to be clutch in moments that matter the most for their team. Being clutch can be a gift athletes can have that separate them from the rest of the players, which is why these players play the way they do in order to survive and continue to be successful in their field of play.