Contracts to play in the NBA are already incredibly lucrative and with the new multi billion dollar television contract coming in 2016-17 season, NBA contracts will be insane compared to contracts seen in the past. NBA teams will have a cap room up to $89 million and a luxury tax threshold up to $108 million. This is enough cap space for teams to sign three superstars all while staying under the salary cap- so yes, Kevin Durant could possibly sign with the Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2016.
If the playing contracts didn’t provide players enough compensation, the stars of the NBA are finding other ways to make millions without even having to touch the court. NBA players acting in commercials and product endorsements have reached an all time high. Players are sponsoring major household brands that are completely unrelated to basketball, such as the insurance and auto industry. State Farm’s latest campaign has a slew of NBA players, featuring Damian Lillard, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, and Deandre Jordan, as part of their newest campaign targeting the NBA fan base. Another major brand, Kia has partnerships with both LeBron James and Blake Griffin to help show off the sportiness and elegance of their new cars.
As much as commercials and endorsements have picked up, they still are not the largest source of income for NBA stars off of the court. The place where players are making the most money (without touching the court) is with the MASSIVE shoe contracts that are going to the biggest NBA stars. Shoe contracts for the NBA’s elite players are often worth more than a top tier NBA player’s actual contract. When Derrick Rose signed his shoe deal with Adidas in 2012 it was worth $185 million. James Harden’s new shoe contract with Adidas is worth $200 million, Kevin Durant’s deal with Nike is worth $300 million and LeBron James’ lifetime deal with Nike is rumored to be worth far more than even Durant’s.
Believe it or not, not everyone that has a shoe contract is as talented as LeBron James, in fact there are quite a few players that have no business at all having a shoe deal at all.
Check out the top 15 recent and current players that for one reason or another, should have never received a shoe deal.
15. Tim Duncan
Just because you are a great player doesn’t mean you should have your own shoe. Duncan is considered the best power forward of all time, but he may also be considered the most boring player of all time. Unsurprisingly, one of his shoes was named the Adidas Big Fundamental. No kid wants to go to the gym rocking a pair of Air Fundamentals. It just doesn’t sound right. Perhaps the most swag absent kicks on this list.
14. Dwight Howard
Nothing against Howard, but why would anyone want to buy a Howard shoe? 1) Nobody buys center’s shoes. 2) Howard has zero post moves. 3) Howard has not been appreciated by fans of any franchise that he joins. The Adidas D Howard series are actually some really awesome looking kicks, but shoe branding is all about the player, and wearing a Dwight Howard shoe is not something many people will want to brag about.
13. Al Harrington
Al’s shoes were known as the KMart Al Harrington Protege. On a positive note, these shoes were relatively cheap ($35) and they were made easily accessible to many people as they were sold exclusively at Kmart and Sears. The bad thing about the shoes was that they were hideous and they were Al Harrington’s. Harrington had a very solid overall NBA career, but he was nowhere near an exciting enough player to deserve his own sneaker.
12. Gilbert Arenas
The Adidas Zero G sneaker was a pathetically designed sneaker made by Adidas, however the appearance of these sneakers isn’t why Arenas made this list. A large portion of the NBA sneakers that are bought are worn by young kids who look up to the player whose shoes they are wearing. Arenas may have been a good player in the NBA, but his on and off the court antics are nothing that you would want your child associated with. Arenas essentially shot himself in the foot and out of the league. OH THE IRONY.
11. Rajon Rondo
The name of the shoe alone is deserving this list: the ANTA RR2. The shoe itself looks fine, but what better way to show your defender that you have zero ability to score the ball than by wearing a pair of Rajon Rondo’s. Sure Rondo is a NBA champion, and he had some seriously dominant years in Boston, but it is a mystery how he has failed to add a jump shot to his offensive arsenal. Not a shoe any aspiring point guard would want to buy, especially with the Stephen Curry’s on the shelves.
10. Kevin Love
Kevin Love is a great rebounder and a good scorer, but do you really want to wear a sneaker of a guy that left Minnesota to become the third wheel to LeBron and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland? Kevin Love’s shoe deal with China’s 361 degree company is now over, but why anyone would pay their hard earned money to own a soft stretch power forward’s shoe is beyond me. Love’s play in Cleveland hasn’t been really inspiring for a shoe.
9. Chandler Parsons
I hate to pick on ANTA, but what is their fascination with signing above average players to shoe contracts? Parsons is viewed by many as a talented forward with a fair amount of potential in the NBA, but he is just as well known for his good looks and his modeling career that he has outside of the NBA. I would be more inclined to spend $100 on a pair of Parson’s wingtips than I would a pair of the ANTA Parsons.
8. George Hill
Nothing says mediocre point guard like wearing a pair of George Hill shoes. The PEAK GH3’s were created by Peak Sports USA and are overall a pretty sporty looking shoe, but who would want to spend the $97.99 dollars that the shoe costs on eBay for a George Hill sneaker? Hill has never been a top 10 point guard in the NBA and if Rondo didn’t deserve his own shoe, Hill definitely doesn’t.
7. Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose is one of my favorite NBA players, but how can Adidas ask a customer to spend $120+ to buy a sneaker from a man that can’t stay healthy? It is like paying a chubby person to be your weight loss trainer, it just doesn’t make sense. I would rather wear a pair of generic sneakers than wear a pair of Air Injuries. No disrespect to Rose as a player, but that gigantic contract he signed with Adidas was a steal.
6. Chris Webber
Chris Webber is an NBA Hall of Fame worthy player, but the Dada C4 shoe was so box looking that it looked like a big carton of milk. It’s hard to dispute someone that put the Sacramento Kings franchise on the map should have their own shoe, but the Dada C4 was a nightmare. Luckily Webber did have some other shoes that were pretty slick such as the Air Max CW’s, but the C4’s were enough to land C-Webb the number six spot on the list.
5. Latrell Sprewell
Spree was one of my favorite players in the NBA during his time with the Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks. He could score the ball in every way possible and he carried himself with a rugged swagger that everyone found admirable. The only problem was that his shoes were outright ridiculous. Everyone remembers the Dada Sprewell’s that came with built in plastic car rims on the side of the shoe. Nothing says Throwback Thursday like rocking a pair of Sprewells to the gym, but maybe we should keep those in the attic for now.
4. Ben Wallace
Stephon Marbury will have his time on this list, but the Ben Wallace Starburys were a tragedy on their own. Besides looking like a pair of used house slippers, Ben Wallace had absolutely ZERO offensive talents. Unless you are planning to be the world’s greatest hustler and rebounder, there was no reason to purchase these shoes. The upside was that they were only $15, but the public shame may not have been worth the benefit of saving a few dollars.
3. Joakim Noah
Yes, Noah’s sneakers have a picture of a rooster on them. Noah’s shoe with Le Coq Sports is one of the most hideous shoes you will ever see. On top of being hideous, they are terribly made. It was rumored that Noah sued the shoe company for creating a terribly made product that lead to his plantar fasciitas that caused him to miss a few games a couple of seasons ago. On top of an ugly shoe, who wants to wear a pair of shoes from a guy that struggles to make layups in the paint, not me.
2. Stephon Marbury
We can all applaud what Stephon Marbury tried to do. Creating a basketball shoe that sold for $15 at the local Steve and Barry store was originally a great story, but when kids across the country began to sprain their ankles playing in a pair of Starburys, it was time to call it quits. Nothing against Marbury, but the shoes weren’t the greatest quality, however they were so cheap I had a few pairs myself.
1. Shaquille O’Neal
Even Superman himself can make mistakes. Unfortunately for Shaq, his shoe line was a tragic mistake. Surprisingly, Shaq has sold millions of pairs of his shoes, however anyone that spend their time around basketball courts knows that anyone wearing of pair of Shaqs is not to be taken seriously. Shaq was a DOMINANT big man, but unless you are on a tight budget, don’t embarrass yourself with a pair of Shaqs and instead maybe invest in another pair of shoes on this list.
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