Ben Simmons was the most hyped prep player since Lebron 13 years ago. His numbers at LSU have been bonkers, but he’s been out of the spotlight on a Tigers team that probably won’t make the tournament.
He’s still the consensus number one pick, by far. Buddy Hield’s on his heels, and Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, and Dragan Bender (who’s ass, but the scouts like him for some reason) have something to say.
Extremely marketable with a huge ceiling (although I think it’s not as high as people say). Companies will be lining up to put his face on their brand. Gatorade, Subway, McDonald’s, and more will likely throw dough at the 19 year old. But the one sponsorship that matters in basketball, his shoes, remains unsettled.
LSU rocks Nike, and Simmons wore them at Montverde too. Nike sponsors 305 NBA players, and they’re by far the most profitable sports brand in the world. That’s important when the figures of Simmons shoe contract are predicted to hit $100 million, which has never been given to an incoming rookie. Lebron fetched $90 million when he came into the league, and that was 13 years ago.
Nike’s going to be considered the front runners, but there will be a bidding war like we’ve never seen before. UnderArmour’s had the quickest rise of any sporting company in history over the past 4 years. Whoever does their scouting and endorsement deserves an island. They signed Steph Curry, Cam Newton, Bryce Harper, and Jordan Spieth the year or two before each of them rose to MVPs of their leagues (Spieth was the best in golf, so same difference as MVP). They shouldn’t even be considered an underdog, because they’re one more big star away from competing with Nike. Steph Curry’s shoes over the last year are making more money than Lebron’s, Kobe’s, or KD’s, that’s a fact. Nobody saw this rise from UnderArmour, and they’re more than prepared to offer $130 mil for Ben Simmons to rock their clothes.
But one company that you need to watch for is Peak, the sponsor of the Australian national basketball team. They’ve already got a few NBA players, and their one big name’s Dwight Howard. Drop his ass to spend on the hometown kid Ben Simmons. Outside of Dwight Howard, in basketball they’ve only got national teams like Iran and Qatar, and also Olympic committees like Saudi Arabia. A little sketch, yes. If Peak offers $200 million, I don’t know that Nike or UnderArmour matches it. As much of a lock as Simmons may be, he’s no certainty. And a big company like Nike or UnderArmour don’t want to be known as the company that gave $200 million to a huge bust.