How great an NBA player is, is often judged by how lucrative his contract is with an apparel company.
Some had to work hard to bag these endorsement deals, some had it as soon as they set foot in the league.
It's time to look at the best rookie shoe endorsement deals in the NBA's history...
Tracy McGrady came into the NBA with a lot of hype around his name. At the time, Adidas was focused on surpassing Nike in the basketball shoe business. And because his good friend, Kobe Bryant, had also signed with Adidas, McGrady knew that Adidas needed young guns to be their face. So, he chose them over other brands that courted him. The exceptional part of this deal was not only T-Mac was being paid but even his high school coach, $150,000 million annually for 6 years.
Simmons signed this deal with Nike on June 6, 2016. However, Adidas had tried to sway him in their direction only a few days after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft. However, including incentives, this could be worth more than $40 million.
The only reason John Wall agreed to sign with Reebok is because of his conversation with Allen Iverson, who told him then they could change the basketball landscape. Clearly, Wall did not get what he wanted and switched to Adidas 3 years later.
Grant Hill was the one who helped set the culture signing with Fila. Over 1.5 million of his Fila pairs were sold, just in his rookie season, the most since Jordan 1s in the previous decade. He eventually signed a lifetime deal with them in 2018 to help revitalize the shoes.
Carmelo Anthony kick started his career with the Jordan brand and rolled out 13 signature shoes. However, they were eventually discontinued in 2017, the fifth-longest line in history. Despite his famous shoes was put to an end, he is still with the Jordan brand.
For a while, Carter had the richest rookie shoe deal in history. He played his first year in the NBA with Puma on his feet but terminated the contract in the second year itself. Nobody knows the real reason for it to this date, but he had to repay some money to Puma since he backed out. Later on, he signed with Nike and got his own signature shoe.
Iverson became the face of the Reebok brand from his rookie year to his final year in the NBA. He wanted to change the culture by signing with a non-Nike brand and accomplished that well. His "The Answer" shoe line was among the most popular during his time in the league and even now.
In July 2007, Kevin Durant signed the second-richest rookie deal with Nike, trailing that of LeBron James. And like LBJ, he was also offered more money to sign with Adidas for $70 million but he turned it down.
Although LeBron is the one who has the largest overall rookie shoe contract, Zion Williamson has the richest annual deal in NBA history. His deal will get him $15 million over 5 years, while LeBron is just a little north of $12 million, per year. He just got his Jordan signature sneaker as well.
Even before playing an NBA game, LeBron inked the richest rookie sneaker deal in NBA history. LBJ was tempted by an even more lucrative $115 million deal from Reebok which he refused. And now, he has a lifetime deal with Nike.