"Russell Westbrook, the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player, will look to continue to establish himself as one of the league's top global superstars, inking a 10-year extension with Nike's Jordan Brand that will be the most lucrative total endorsement deal for a Jordan athlete to date, according to industry sources.
The long-term extension will link the 28-year-old Westbrook with Jordan Brand through as long as the 2025-2026 NBA season. The deal will also include both on- and off-court signature sneakers, new territory for Westbrook. As he's continued to lead the Air Jordan game shoe each season, the brand launched two off-court geared silhouettes, dubbed the Westbrook 0.1 and 0.2, but had held off on designing a performance signature shoe for the hardwood.
As for the delay in creating a signature model for the league MVP during the rise of his prime, there's a bit of a case study in place from the brand's recent history. After adding Dwyane Wade to the Jordan roster of endorsers before the 2009-2010 season, the then-Miami Heat star led the Air Jordan 2010 and 2011 models, before debuting his own Fly Wade signature series. As Wade's endorsement deal was set to expire in 2012, he left the brand for equity in Chinese company Li-Ning, making his Jordan signature series short-lived, with just two models releasing in stores.
Rather than invest resources into designing, developing and marketing another possibly short-lived signature line, Jordan Brand wanted to first ensure that Westbrook would be with the company for the long haul. Just after agreeing to the extension, Westbrook and Jordan embarked on a multi-city, rapid-fire tour of China, with Westbrook again supporting the newest Air Jordan model. He's expected to lead the XXXII for this upcoming NBA season.