There aren't many players in college hoops with hype like LSU forward Ben Simmons, and although he's only a freshman, he might soon have the sneaker deal to match it.
SportsNet New York writer Adam Zagoria says that Simmons stands to receive a sneaker deal worth over $100 million upon being drafted into the NBA. Zagoria cites an industry source who reports that the projected no. 1 draft pick will likely ink a deal with Nike, however it's noted that adidas and Under Armour could also make a play for the 19-year-old Australian import.
Meanwhile, Sonny Vaccaro, the former marketing exec who's infamous for being involved in countless high-profile sneaker deals including Michael Jordan's, had this to say on the matter: "The number doesn't astonish me, the number's been stagnant since LeBron. It would be the new precedent because LeBron was the last and [Simmons] has the makings in the mind of the NBA that he could be a great, great player. So that's basically what they're saying, he's going to get a $100 million deal. I would understand that."
Vaccaro's referring to King James' 2003 Nike deal reportedly worth $90 million, making it the biggest initial sneaker deal of all-time. Still, it's a number that Vaccaro says he wouldn't be surprised to see Simmons surpass, especially if adidas and/or Under Armour do end up getting involved.
"adidas and Under Armour may throw a number out there, maybe more to push it up. I would say maybe [$100 million] is not enough because times have changed. We've seen $20 million-a-year contracts now but they've been for established players," Vaccaro said.
It sounds like things are about to get really interesting as the NBA Draft approaches this summer.