Ben Simmons, the projected No. 1 overall pick in the forthcoming NBA Draft, announced Tuesday that he has signed an endorsement deal with sneaker giant Nike.
According to a league source, Simmons’ contract would be the most lucrative for a rookie since Nike signed LeBron James in 2003 and Kevin Durant in 2007. However, Simmons could have signed a more lucrative deal with Adidas but went with Nike instead, according to ESPN.
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Ben Simmons joins Nike family…
Simmons, born and raised in Australia, is represented by sports agency Klutch Sports Group, which also represents LeBron James. Therefore, it was always expected that Simmons would eventually sign with Nike, regardless of the more lucrative offers he received from Adidas. In fact, Under Armor, too, were keen on inking the LSU product.
Simmons failed to lead LSU to the NCAA tournament but not before leading the team in points (19.2 ppg), rebounds (11.8) and assists (4.8). According to Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, the 6-foot-10 Australian is the best prospect entering a draft since LeBron James in 2003.
Despite a flurry of reports that Simmons would prefer to represent the Purple & Gold, who own the No.2 pick in the draft, Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo has insisted that the versatile forward would have no qualms about playing in Philadelphia.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, it’s almost a lock that Sixers would be drafting Simmons. “It wouldn’t be surprising now if in 23 days the Sixers select “him.” Then, as Brown likes to say, they’ll do what they can to “positionally balance” the team that is still lacking shooters and a point guard who will run the show for years to come.”
Ben Simmons is yet to schedule a private workout with either the Lakers or the Sixers. The draft is just 16 days away.