Nike has been a part of the sportswear world for decades now. Founded in 1964, the company started its journey with sports shoes. Over the years, they have come up with a variety of other products and have never diverted from incorporating fashion into their sports accessories products. As a result, after half a century run, Nike has all sorts of training gears, t-shirts, joggers, backpacks, game kits, swimsuits and the list goes on. Subsequently, they have also been associated with a number of athletes and sportsmen from different sports from all across the globe. Nike has dressed and accessorized some of the biggest names in the sports world. Although the competition in the sports equipment market is not very extensive, the standard is set very high. But, Nike has made its niche in it. In fact, it has settled some of the largest endorsement contracts deals with some of the biggest names.
You have surely spotted the trademark Swoosh and slogan ‘Just Do It’ on the t-shirts and shoes and sports gear of multiple athletes in the sports you love. Here are 5 athletes who have been associated with Nike and prefer it over the rest.
- Lebron James
Nike signed professional basketball player Lebron James in 2016 in the biggest athlete endorsement deal in history. Though in terms of yearly amount, their partnership with Michael Jordan for the Nike Jordan shoes exceeds this one, James will be having this for a lifetime, which means the next decade and a half of his career. Lebron James has been playing wearing Nike since his rookie days for Cleveland Cavaliers, and now he is riding on a $500 million endorsement deal.
The legend of Brazilian football and his love affair with Nike is well-known. Of his 15 or so endorsements during his peak of the career, Nike was the biggest one. Though he has retired from the active game, it is one of the most prominent endorsements for Nike among all. It crossed the boundary of deals and business and spread among the mass and the fans with the heart-warming ‘Touch of Gold’ video that was sponsored by Nike, showcasing Ronaldinho’s unbelievable skill with the foot. The video has over 35 million hits online and counting.
- Tiger Woods
One of the top-earning athletes of all time, Tiger Woods preferred Nike over other ever since he turned into a professional golfer in 1996. Nike, like in case of most athletes, has been the highlight of his many endorsement deals and associations over the years.
- Maria Sharapova
Tennis player Maria Sharapova has been a recurring name in the long list of athletes who have worked with Nike. Over the years, Nike has not only been a constant partner financially but has also designed some of the most talked about tennis outfits in the Grand Slam circuit. Subdued neutrals, fluorescent strips, neon shoes – there have been absolutely no limitation of the experiments Nike and Sharapova have done together.
- Rafael Nadal
Yet another tennis professional, the tick mark logo on Nadal’s vibrant t-shirts, white shoes, and bandanas on the court is hard to miss. The King of Clay at present has a ten year deal with the company with $ 10 million per year. But given the age-old relationship, it is unlikely that anything will change after a decade, even if Nadal retires by that time.
It is Nike’s special strategy to invest more and more in individual endorsements and teams as well, like the Indian Cricket Team, instead of spending a lot on advertisements. So far, it has worked significantly for both the company as well as the athletes.