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Nike vs Adidas: Amid Kevin Durant Drama, Which Sports Brand Remains Undisputed in the NBA’s $2,567 Million Industry?

Feb 14, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant looks on against the Sacramento Kings during the second half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA is one of the most popular American sports leagues in the world. With the league’s ascent to global popularity as one of the most followed American leagues, its superstar athletes naturally become some of the most widely recognized figures on a global scale. Current icons of the NBA, like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant, have become global icons due to their illustrious career. This has led to them signing multi-million dollar endorsement deals with various brands.
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In April 2023, Kevin Durant entered into a lifetime partnership with Nike, signing a significant shoe deal. Nonetheless, he recently encountered a disrespectful exchange on Twitter with Adidas, a notable rival of Nike.
Kevin Durant’s feud with Adidas
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Kevin Durant has garnered a reputation for his thin-skin nature and susceptibility to criticism, exemplified by his use of a burner account to counter criticism on Twitter in 2017. It’s evident that KD is no stranger to online feuds, and a recent online conflict is emerging between Durant, a lifetime Nike athlete, and Adidas. Adidas conducted a promotional interview to showcase Minnesota star Anthony Edwards’ first Adidas sneaker.
During the interview, Edwards was posed with a question regarding his preference for the first NBA player he would like to see don his initial pair of shoes. He replied by saying, “KD. He with Nike. I want to see him put on these one time… in a game.” After seeing the clip, KD responded through his Twitter handle. He wrote, “Won’t EVER see me put a big toe in them Mfers.”
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Following KD’s comments, Adidas clapped back through their official Twitter account. They wrote, “u dusty bouta retire soon anyway”. The tweet garnered significant attention, however, the manufacturing giant soon removed the tweet. But, Adidas wasn’t done taking a dig at KD, as shortly after, they shared another tweet, stating, “meant to send that from the burner account”, in a cheeky reference to KD’s prior use of a burner account in 2017. The ongoing feud between KD and Adidas highlights the intense rivalry between these two manufacturing giants. But, which brand reigns supreme in the NBA?
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Is Nike dominating the NBA?
According to data released by Future Market Insights, the Basketball Shoes Market is estimated at USD 2,567 million in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 3,538 million by 2032. These eye-watering figures show just how huge the basketball shoe/sneakers market is.
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In the fiscal year 2022, Nike emerged as the leader in the footwear market. As per Statista, Nike’s footwear sales (including tennis, basketball, and running shoes) reached an estimated $29 billion. Whereas, their arch-rival Adidas could only manage to record sales estimated at $13.1 billion, which is less than half of Nike’s sales. These numbers underline the significantly dominant position that Nike maintains in the footwear market.
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