These Are The Most Profitable Shoe Deals In The NBA
Photo Credit: Randy Holmes / Christian Vierig / Kevin Winter

These Are The Most Profitable Shoe Deals In The NBA

The most profitable shoe deals in the NBA, in total, generate billions of dollars for the sneaker industry. And yet, the most profitable shoe deal on this list goes to a man who hasn’t stepped on the basketball court in more than two decades.

“Wholesale revenue at Nike’s Jordan Brand subsidiary hit $3.14 billion in the fiscal year ending May 2019, up 10% from 2018,” reports Forbes, who compiled the initial list of the most profitable shoe deals in the NBA today. “MJ’s annual take is an estimated $130 million, four times more than that of James, the No. 2 earner, with $32 million. Arguably, 16 years after he last laced up his own high tops on the court, more Jordan-branded shoes and apparel are being sold than the signature lines of every other current NBA player. Combined.”

The business of sneakers is a profitable one and one that has made millions of dollars for basketball players that have been lucky enough to get into it. In fact, according to Forbes, the vast majority of NBA players’ income off the court comes in the form of shoe deals. Giannis Antetokounmpo, for example, pulled down $10 million with his Nike deal — the same amount that Damian Lillard pulled down with his adidas deal. Even Klay Thompson’s deal with Anta gives him a $9 million paycheck.

But these 11 players’ deals are leaps and bounds above the rest.

Let’s take a look at the best of the best.

Michael Jordan

Photo Credit: Jordan Brand

Estimated Value: $130 Million

Michael Jordan signed his first shoe deal all the way back in 1984. At that time, he was fresh out of UNC, and the deal was a five-year, $500,000/year contract. Since then, his Jordan sneakers have gone on to become iconic and in a class by themselves.

LeBron James

Photo Credit: Randy Holmes

Estimated Value: $32 Million

While LeBron’s deal with Nike is a lifetime deal — and its estimated value is certainly nothing to sneeze at — it’s worth peanuts compared to Jordan’s deal. Nevertheless, Bron signed a lifetime deal with Nike all the way back in 2015, and it has paid off multi-fold ever since.

Kevin Durant

Photo Credit: Steve Jennings

Estimated Value: $26 Million

Durant’s business partner told Forbes that his deal with Nike is more profitable for the company in China than it is in the United States. Still, his KD shoes bring in about $26 million annually.

Stephen Curry

Photo Credit: Arturo Holmes

Estimated Value: $20 Million

Back in 2013, Under Armour made a deal with Stephen Curry that proved to be a boon for the then-fledgling company. Shortly after the deal was made, he became an All-Star, and the sales of his shoes skyrocketed — bringing a much-needed windfall to the company.

Kobe Bryant

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter

Estimated Value: $16 Million

Bryant’s shoe deal continues to be a money-maker, even after his passing. AfroTech has shared several stories about what limited edition Kobe Bryant shoes can command in the market, and his branded Nikes are still a hot commodity in China.

James Harden

Photo Credit: Edward Berthelot

Estimated Value: $14 Million

Harden’s deal with adidas was first signed in 2015 and is good for 13 years. According to Forbes, it’s worth up to $200 million, which includes royalties and bonuses.

Zion Williamson

Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard

Estimated Value: $13 Million

Williamson can thank his social media popularity for his lucrative shoe deal with Nike in 2019. The company was in tough competition with adidas and Puma for Williamson’s business.

Dwyane Wade

Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez

Estimated Value: $12 Million

Wade, who is now retired, is one of the only NBA stars who have made a shoe deal with a Chinese company. He signed with Li-Ning in 2012, but he started his career wearing Jordans.

Russell Westbrook

Photo Credit: Jon Kopaloff

Estimated Value: $12 Million

Westbrook’s impressive net worth is supplemented by his lucrative shoe line with the Jordan Brand. In 2017, he extended his contract for another 10 years.

Kyrie Irving

Photo Credit: Christian Vierig

Estimated Value: $11 Million

Kyrie Irving’s signature shoe with Nike has been one of the best-sellers since it was first released nearly five years ago.

Derrick Rose (tie)

Photo Credit: Rich Polk

Estimated Value: $11 Million

In 2012, Rose got sidelined thanks to a torn ACL. At the time, he was playing with the Chicago Bulls. But, he bounced back and then some with a deal with adidas that will last until 2025. The D Rose 10, released earlier this year, is his 10th signature line with the brand.