Adidas has been the official jersey and apparel maker for the NBA since 2006. However, that contract is set to end after next season (2016-17), at which point adidas’ main competitor Nike will take over. During an extended interview with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, SLAM asked about the change from one major brand to another.
His response was expectedly measured, but he did make a few comments about the two brands’ relationship to basketball. “adidas was not endemic to basketball,” Silver explains. “They are at root a soccer company. I think on the other hand, with Nike, as I heard Mark Parker, the CEO, say, basketball is the soul of Nike.” Adidas is based in Germany, and it has undeniably had more difficulty breaking into the NBA performance shoe market than establishing themselves in running, soccer or even lifestyle (Kanye helps there).
However, Silver is definitely drinking the kool-aid a bit here. If we go by history, Nike was actually founded as a running shoe company. While neither of the shoe brands truly got their start with basketball, Nike is undoubtedly closer to the heart and soul of basketball culture. We’re excited to see if, as Silver says, “Nike is ready to take it to another level.”