NBA player James Harden has been making headlines for recently signing with adidas in a massive $200 million USD deal shortly after his contract with Nike had expired, which entails heavy involvement in product design and a brand new signature collection on top of assuming a huge role in basketball marketing. Portland Business Journal called adidas' Head of Global Basketball Chris Grancio for a short interview to discuss the details surrounding the new relationship between the Houston Rockets shooting guard and the German sports manufacturer. View the interview below.
What makes James Harden worth (a reported) $200 million (USD)?
Grancio: He’s an MVP as judged by his peers. He has an incredible style on court and off court. He connects really well with kids. It's a perfect balance. When we think about where we're headed, we see the perfect match with James.
The news release described the deal as "unprecedented." How so?
Grancio: The thing we’re most excited about with James is how far-reaching we think his personality and style can be. We see a tremendous amount of runway for him not only on the court as he builds his game but off the court as he starts developing a line with us on the style side. One of the things about basketball is it's a huge driver of culture. We see with James someone who can help us connect the dots.
How does this impact other adidas basketball players? What does it mean for Derrick Rose, John Wall and Damian Lillard?
Grancio: Nothing, really. We've got a fantastic group of partners. We're excited about all of them. We need all of our partners. As we start to move into October and November you're going to start to see how we tell those stories and how we bring those stories to life.
We spoke in March about this sort of new direction for adidas Basketball, more endorsers, more products, more advertising. Where is adidas at in that turnaround effort? What’s next?
Grancio: We made a pretty big headline yesterday. That's a big part of it. We're going to continue to invest in finding the best partners in the game. We want more partners like James and Derrick Rose and John Wall and Damian Lillard wearing our product. We're also continuing to invest in our grassroots (high school) programs. We had a great summer. Some of the most exciting stuff is what we're doing with products that will hit the market in the spring and summer of 2016. We're very excited about the products.
How soon on the new product, which is such a big part of the basketball reboot?
Grancio: As soon as six months. In spring '16 you'll start to see new products. Fall and winter '16 will be another step forward. We expect that as we move forward that will continue.
What's next on the endorsement side? Given the size of the Harden deal, will adidas continue to sign players?
Grancio: We're going to continue (to sign players). It's going to be a combination of all the things we talked about.
What’s first for James Harden? The deal starts Oct. 1. How long until marketing efforts and products, like a signature shoe, roll out?
Grancio: He’ll be a part of the campaign that rolls out in October. We'll be in touch about product rollouts.