Note: Because some people can’t tell satire or sarcasm, we unfortunately have to tell you that this is all in good fun beforehand and not just let you figure it out for yourself.
A lot has been said about James Harden’s reported $200 million deal with adidas since the story first broke early Monday. Assuming all of this is true and Harden is going to get paid by either adidas or Nike (they have until the end of next week to match), we are in a brave new world order of sneaker deals. After years of wondering where all of the signature shoes went, we saw the debut of four new models between adidas (Wall 1, Lillard 1), Nike (Kyrie 1) and Under Armour (Curry One) this past NBA season with seemingly more coming over the next few years. Sure, it’s going to be expensive as hell to buy all of these kicks, but it’s also an exciting time if you’re following all of the industry shenanigans that takes place when major deals like Harden’s go on.
One such story is something that is totally unsubstantiated and unverified, but was so damn funny to that I just couldn’t resist talking about it. On Twitter yesterday, we got this gem of a tweet.
@kicksonfire he signed the contract yesterday at the drew league. They just haven't publicly announced it yet
— Yani Tsunami (@HookedOnYanicks) August 3, 2015
I’ve asked several people at adidas to confirm whether this happened or not and naturally, the response was something to the effect of “nope”. It’s such a crazy story that it probably didn’t happen, BUT if Harden DID sign adidas’ bid at The Drew League – a Nike sponsored event – that would be the most spiteful, hilarious and pro wrestling thing ever. It’s the sneaker heel turn of the century that opens up so many comedic possibilities.
For years, Harden has been the model Nike athlete. He started out as just one of the guys playing alongside fellow Nike teammates Kevin Durant and Westbrook in OKC. KD had his own signature shoe while Westbrook and Harden were becoming the face of the Hyperfuse and Hyperdunk, respectively. When Harden was traded to Houston, he stepped out from the shadows of his superstar teammates and became one in his own right. But as KD added to his signature shoe count and Westbrook became the man who would represent the Air Jordan, Harden was still on the second tier, wearing the Nike Zoom Crusader, the Hyperchase and many others. But he kept on playing and getting better and garnering more notoriety. Surely a beard-themed signature shoe was on the way, right? No so fast…
The world was introduced to the Nike Kyrie 1 a few months ago. Despite never having played for a winning club and struggling through injuries, Kyrie Irving got a signature shoe over Harden. No matter how great Harden was last season and the year prior to that, it wasn’t enough and now we’re here in this totally fictional scenario where we draw inspiration from the moment when the New World Order “took over” WCW in 1996. For obvious reasons, we won’t talk about the shamed wrestling legend that turned out to be a clueless racist who was such a key part of the storyline.
Imagine it’s the finals of the Drew League and Nick Young and DeMar DeRozan’s team are just seconds away from winning the championship. The lights go dim and the spotlight is on Damian Liillard (as Scott Hall), who coincidentally has been to the Drew League for the past several years but never plays. He’s wearing all black with the only contrast coming in form of three stripes. As he drops his four bars about “taking over”, out comes John Wall (as Kevin Nash) on the other side of the court in the exact same attire. There’s a confrontation between the Nike guys and the adidas interlopers in the middle of the court but then from out of nowhere Harden (playing the role of he-who-shall-not-be-named) appears in Nike gear to save the day. Only he’s not there to save the day; he’s there to watch the world burn.
Harden rips off his Nike gear to reveal an adidas t-shirt underneath, signifying his allegiance to the three stripes. Kids, adults and hypebeats alike are disgusted by what they see as Harden, Lillard and Wall are standing united as three stripes flyers and confetti drop from the rafters (note: there aren’t really rafters at The Drew but play along). All the Nike banners are being covered up and replaced with the adidas logo done in the same style as the iconic NWO t-shirts. Babies are crying, Swaggy P is too shocked to say anything and grown men are shaving their beards in a confused state.
Trying to make sense of it all, Baron Davis (playing the role of Mean Gene Okerlund) gets his documentary crew and asks Harden why he’s turning his back on Nike. Harden then drops the promo of a lifetime, saying he was a loyal Nike guy since high school and that he did everything that was asked of him, but it still wasn’t enough. He wore the Hyperdunks and the Crusaders, all in the hopes that one day he would get the call from Phil Knight saying that he would be the next to get a signature shoe. But that call never came; instead it went to Kyrie Irving. And that’s when he started to think whether or not it was all worth it. He was one of the best players in the league but he wasn’t getting the recognition from the brand he had represented. It was time to make a change and lucky for him, adidas was there with a $200 million contract of appreciation. The outsiders bask in the insanity that they have caused and walk out to a limo waiting outside of King Drew. Who’s inside the limo? Kanye West, of course.
Yeah, I can’t wait for the Drew League Final on Sunday…