Zion got paid.
Zion got paid.

Nike’s absurd splurge breaks records

NIKE is going all in on NBA No.1 draft pick Zion Williamson after locking down a sneaker endorsement deal with the New Orleans Pelicans star.

It is an extraordinary win on two fronts for the apparel giant after the company in February had $2 billion wiped from its bottom line when Williamson shredded his Duke Nike sneaker and injured his knee.

According to reports, Williamson also signed with Nike for less money than he was offered by a rival brand - giving up $US10 million.

Reports on Wednesday claimed Williamson's deal with Nike's Jordan brand is worth $107 million (US$75m) over four years.

It is the biggest rookie shoe endorsement deal signed in the NBA since LeBron James signed with Nike in 2003 for $US87 million.

It puts Williamson above Kevin Durant's seven-year, $US60 million deal when he was picked up by the SuperSonics in 2007.

It also dwarfs Ben Simmons' rookie shoe endorsement deal with Nike where the Aussie signed a five-year deal reportedly worth a guaranteed $US20 million with performance clauses pushing the deal towards a total $US40 million.

It ends what had been forecast earlier this year to be the biggest endorsement deal bidding war of this generation of athletes.

The man who first signed NBA GOAT Michael Jordan to Nike, company executive Exec Sonny Vaccaro, declared in April Williamson's rookie shoe deal would be the biggest bidding war of his lifetime.

He said after the 2019 NBA Draft that Williamson's shoe deal would have been worth $US100 million if he'd been selected by a big-market franchise like the New York Knocks or the Los Angeles Lakers.

While it didn't get to those heights, it was reported that up to seven companies were all chasing Williamson's signature.

Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, New Balance, Puma and Anta and a Chinese company were all linked with offers to Williamson.

The fear of a rival snatching him and using the imagery of his blown out shoe at Duke reportedly forced Nike to make its richest shoe offer in 16 years.

The company's campaign was also boosted by the extraordinary lengths it was able to go to to develop a custom-made shoe for Williamson at Duke following his earlier blow out.

This image of Zion’s shattered shoe wiped $2 billion off Nike’s share value.
This image of Zion’s shattered shoe wiped $2 billion off Nike’s share value.

In the end it was Williamson's affinity for the Jordan brand and his weakness for the iconic basketballer himself that sealed the deal.

"I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family," said Williamson, who was chosen first overall in the June draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.

"Since I was a kid, I dreamed of making it to the league and having the type of impact on the game Michael Jordan had and continues to have today. He was one of those special athletes I looked up to, and I really can't express how happy and excited I am for this journey."

View this post on Instagram

Let’s Dance #JUMPMAN

A post shared by Zion Williamson (@zionwilliamson) on

Jordan himself, a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls who now owns the Charlotte Hornets, lauded Williamson's "incredible determination, character and play."

"He's an essential part of the new talent that will help lead the brand into the future," Jordan said. "He told us he would 'shock the world,' and asked us to believe him. We do."

Stream over 50 sports live & anytime with KAYO on your TV, mobile, tablet or laptop. Just $25/month with no lock-in contract. Get your 14 day free tria

News Corp Australia

MEET THE TEAM: News reporter Jacobbe McBride

Premium Content MEET THE TEAM: News reporter Jacobbe McBride

“You can take the man out of Gladstone, but not Gladstone out of the man.”

Paramedics treating woman in two car crash at Boyne Island

Premium Content Paramedics treating woman in two car crash at Boyne Island

The crash occurred at the intersection of Pioneer Drive and Tuckers Road.

REVEALED: How council will crack down on illegal dumping

Premium Content REVEALED: How council will crack down on illegal dumping

Gladstone Regional Council said it would be ‘financially unsustainable’ to waiver...