Timofey Mozgov explains how shoe contracts work
Hey guys, sorry for the pause – I missed a few posts by Timofey, but he still blogs of course. This one was originally published in Russian at Sports.ru on April 12th.
Hi! Here’s what I’m going to tell you about today. As you know, everybody who loves basketball has to make one very difficult choice sooner or later. Though for some people this dilemma is not that complicated. But anyway, one has to make the choice. And every NBA rookie has to make a decision on a mandatory basis right in the very beginning of his career. Sportswear manufacturers offer a personal contract to absolutely every rookie. I have one too, with Nike. I’m talking about choosing the shoes…
I wanted to tell you about it back in New York, but somehow I never got around to it)) Sorry, I’m making up for it now. So…
It may seem strange to Europeans, but here in the League, all the players, even those who are just starting, have a personal relationship with sportswear manufacturers. No matter how much stardom a player has, the companies consider it their professional duty to make it so that “even that new guy” represents their brand. It doesn’t matter how much playing time he gets and what year of his contract it is, because he’s already a part of the elite club, the NBA. And this already means a lot in America.
For example, I signed my contract with Nike on October 11. And I played my first game, as I recall, only on 27th. But here it’s normal.
Another thing is that the essence of a contract with a superstar and with a newcomer is significantly different. That’s a fact! The higher you climb up the Olympus, the more conditions there are, it terms of exactly money payments. In the beginning it’s an exchange deal. Which means, a player promises to wear Nike shoes everywhere (unless when it’s against the rules set by the dress code of the League, more on this a bit later), and the company to generously equip him for it. Let me explain some of the nuances using myself as an example.
So. Right now I’m not getting any money from them directly. Yes, in my contract there are generous bonuses for all sorts of individual achievement – getting on the list of the top players of the week, top rookie lists, Rookie of the Year award, and so on. And also for game performance: points, minutes, rebounds, blocked shots… So, for almost every positive stat on the boxscore.
Or, let’s say, for the team reaching the playoffs if I’m a part of it. I won’t speak about the regular season, but to make it clear, I’ll use the playoffs for an example. I will receive compensation if the club reaches the Conference semifinals, while Mozgov averages no less than 15 minutes on the court for the entire series. That’s how it works. The regular season performance is evaluated using the same principle. Got it? Everything else is like that.
But regardless of that, I still have an impressive amount of money on my account, which can be used for purchasing sportswear and equipment. Here’s how it works.
Nike has a division called Nike Elite. They set up a personal account for me on their website, and it has a positive balance, that is mentioned in the contract. I’m logging in using my password and may check the stock now. And I should mention that not only sportswear is available there, but the casual clothes mane by the manufacturer too. As far as I know, a well-known American designer designs it exclusively for Nike.
So I log in, check out the goods, make a choice, make an order, confirm it and after a few days I already get the parcel with my order at home. It’s very convenient!!!
Also, I have a so-called Nike ID. Although the service is not available for Russians and other Europeans, but I think you have heard about it a lot. This is the “trick”, when every resident of the States may order personally custom-made shoes, backpacks, clothing or goods with a different “engraving”. By the way, I remember Booker in Khimki played in shoes with his last name on it.
So what’s expected from me? Basically, it’s simple. As it’s easy to guess, I have to wear Nike shoes always and everywhere. I make a reservation about the shoes, because the league directly is sponsored by adidas. And that company is providing us with all the sportswear that we have to wear during every practice and game. The rules only allow us to choose the shoes. And we can also wear something else that belongs to our personal contracts if it’s not mentioned as a “franchise gear”.
But outside the court, yeah: it’s Nike, everywhere, completely, and entirely. Be it a walk in the city or streetball on the court near your place. What do I say, even fulfilling the desire to shoot the ball alone in your backyard)))
An exception, like I said, is the NBA dress code… During all the official activities of the League – including, of course, the games – we have wear civilian clothes. No tracking suits, otherwise there’s a fine! Because of that, like I said before, I have a lot of clothes made for me here. Not so long ago I have visited a very-very large shop (maybe the largest in the world) of big shoes. Right away I bought myself seven pairs of cool shoes there)))
My agreement with Nike is signed for the entire term of my first NBA contract. It also spelled out my mandatory participation in promotions of the company. None of them happened yet. But as far as I know, they have something planned for the summer in Russia, as a part of League activities. So expect me, guys – I think there’s a chance we’ll see each other in May or June already))
But anyway: why did I choose Nike? It was historically established. I played wearing these shoes in Khimki and on the national team. I even have a favorite model. Though they took it out of production some time ago. But now it’s available for orders again for some reason. I don’t know if it’s a special event or something. But I’m happy!
Also, just a few days ago (right before the injury) I tried Durant’s new model. I liked it a lot!!! So I’ll be wearing it for now. It feels great!
There was an offer from adidas too. My American agent has a close relationship with them, and most of his clients wear those shoes. Batum, for example. They also said that they recently signed Kirilenko. So, a second Russian would be very interesting to them – a great PR move! But we decided otherwise.
By the way, back when I was a Knicks player I got to visit one of the largest Nike shops in the world. It’s located in Portland. And it’s very (!) big. I bought a couple sweaters there. Of course, all the prices are almost twice lower than normal. Anyway, that money too was written off my account.
Our equipment manager told me about the shop even before we left for the airport in New York. In Portland they arranged a bus for anybody who wanted to visit the shop, and five guys from our team went there.
In general, players approach choosing the shoes not like in Europe. They are changing them a lot and are always trying new models. Probably from force of habit, I still like the worn in shoes. It’s more comfortable for me. And if in the Old World most of the players love Nike and only a few basketball players prefer adidas, then here it’s not only these two brands, but also it happens that you see Peak and Converse. And Shaq is running around, it seems, in Chinese Lifan)))