Yes, the team with the best single-season record in NBA history just got better…Kevin Durant, the 2014 Most Valuable Player, 7-time NBA All Star, 5-time All-NBA First Team member and 4-time scoring champion, has agreed to sign with the Golden State Warriors.
These are the same Golden State Warriors that won the NBA Championship in 2015.
The same Golden State Warriors that just completed a 73-9 regular season, eclipsing the record previously held by the mighty Michael Jordan-lead Chicago Bulls.
The same Golden State Warriors that already have on their roster the 2-time reigning Most Valuable Player (Stephen Curry), and two current USA Olympians and All Stars (Draymond Green and Klay Thompson).
However, it is also the same Golden State Warriors that just squandered a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, behind their ‘King’, LeBron James. In the wake of this defeat, Warriors owner Joe Lacob said to Marc Stein of ESPN that they “would be very aggressive” in the off-season. With the signing of Durant, ‘aggressive’ is an understatement.
Forbes recently ranked Durant as the fifth highest paid athlete in the world, with $36M of his wealth for that year coming from his various endorsement deals. Durant actually made more money off the court than on last season, and he has proven he is a global brand.
In his announcement of his decision to join the Warriors on The Players Tribune, Durant said that he made this decision equally for his growth as a player and “as a man”. There is no doubt the move will also see growth in his earning potential, with an increase in endorsement and off-court opportunities either through the Warriors’ ownership group’s ties to Silicon Valley, or the more-viable endorsement prospects in booming San Francisco.
For athletes, business and endorsement opportunities outside their on-court achievements are a key focus for them and their managers. The duration of their careers in their respective sports are limited, and the ability to develop prosperous business relationships are important to developing a positive public image and prolonging the athlete’s relevance in the community. This will in turn maximise their earning capacity and assist in their transition out of their respective sports.
For each endorsement deal comes a comprehensive Sponsorship Agreement, with the various terms and conditions negotiated over, often, a lengthy period of time to achieve the best outcome for all parties. As the value of these athletes continues to grow in terms of their marketability and global reach, the more prominent these agreements will become.
Durant’s move to the Warriors will undoubtedly open up numerous off-court opportunities as the newest member of the most marketable team in the league. However, it is the on-court product that will have other NBA teams sweating for the foreseeable future.
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