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Soon Harden will stop being seen in Air Jordans

James Harden

James Harden


To quote some other writer, this is much ado about nothing. But when you combine celebrities and hundreds of millions of dollars in the dearth of the off-season, you get a story.

To be clear, there are 200 million reasons James Harden should stop wearing Air Jordans.

Harden’s new mega-deal with Adidas doesn’t officially kick in until Oct. 1, and he was seen around the Los Angeles area still wearing Air Jordans. Which he is certainly not a violation of the letter of his contract for another couple of weeks. Still, you can imagine that’s not sitting well with the people at Adidas. ESPN’s Darren Rovell asked the good people at Adidas about it.

Asked whether Harden will have to stop wearing his Air Jordan collection in public when the deal officially commences Oct. 1, Adidas’ Mark King said, “That’s part of the deal.”

“The difference between football and basketball is that a guy like Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have a walk-around shoe,” King said. “Harden does, and he will be in our lifestyle stuff.”

This matters to Adidas — they know they are a long, long way from toppling Nike in basketball shoes, but they have brought in other big names such as Kanye West to design lifestyle shoes to wear around. That’s a market they want to go after. Harden’s pop culture status — the beard, dating a Kardashian, being known for fashion — is part of the reason Adidas went in big to land him. So it doesn’t look good when he’s walking around in other people’s gear. It’s not a big deal, but it’s noticed.

Harden seems to have learned his lesson.