Updated: Sep 8, 2021
The Slovenian superstar will influence the next decade on and off the court.
Buckle up, you're about to see this guy's face everywhere for the next decade or two. He's the Slovenian Superstar. Gen Z's Wünderkid. The heir to the greatest international player, Dirk Nowitzki, and his throne: Luka Doncic. And he just signed the largest supermax rookie extension in the history of the NBA. A paltry, chump change, wipe-his-ass-with-Benjamins, $207 million!
.......wait, what? $207 million for a rookie extension, you say? That's nothing! Steph Curry just signed a 4-year extension worth a cool $215 million. But the difference is, Steph's contract takes him through the 2025-2026 season, where he'll be 38. Luka is only 22! That's a lot of Fornite avatar skins you can buy. Or copious amounts of gems on Clash of Clans. Whatever tickles his pickle, he's set for life.
Let's dive deeper into why this is important, shall we?
The Supermax Opens Doors
Many of you are probably saying out loud, "Well what about LeBron? Dame Lillard? KD? Steph Curry? These are all ball players who also signed a hefty rookie extension, and are still the faces of the NBA." Well, that's true. But out of these great players, only KD and Luka have been All-NBA First Team by the age of 23 since the ABA-NBA merger. The guy is already 11th on the All-Time list for Triple-Doubles for crying out loud! At 23! We get it. Playing great will open doors. Luka doing this at a scorching rate opens the doors not just to US brands, but to International ones as well; something US-born players are sometimes looked over for either the athlete's personal reasons or hurting-their-brand reasons. We haven't seen LeBron James commercials for anything like Japanese ramen but if you have, please show us.
Being a younger player growing up in the Digital Age has also opened up incredible doors that weren't available to older players in the 80's, 90's and even early 2000's. Technology has advanced so rapidly for industries like eSports/Gaming, NFTs, Hospitality and Automotive, that they're itching to grab the face of the next generation to carry their flag into battle. It's not like how it used to be, however. These innovative brands no longer just pay for celebrity endorsement, they want partnerships with influencers who actually use the product.
Even though there were some flirtations, Adidas, Under Armour and Puma never had a chance signing Luka. After his initial deal with Nike expired while with Real Madris, ultimately Jordan Brand won out and grabbed the Slovenian Sensation (yes we know Jordan Brand is technically part of Nike) in 2019. In fact, because of Luka's huge popularity and Supermax extension, it made it easier for Jordan Brand to scoop him up, since Luka's been copping Jordan's for a long time. He didn't need to sign a massive deal with Adidas or other shoe brand, he went with the one he rocks anyway.
Rookie No More
After 3 years in the league, it's easy to say Luka has his pick of any brand he wants to endorse. He's no longer the baby-faced rookie we saw when he got traded for Trae Young. Well, actually, he still has a baby-face, but we digress. But we think the Supermax makes him more selective on brands he's got straight up love for. There were rumblings of him signing with EA Sports before the extension, but recently went with 2K Sports. Why? Part of the reason was EA dragging their feet, hurting the potential Luka could earn. But methinks it's also got something to do with game play and the collabs in the pipeline with different designers and influencers. 2K is connected with streetwear aficionados Ben Baller and Chicago Don C. Those connections could be pretty, pretty interesting in the future. That's just a gut feeling, but the Force feels quite strong with this guess.
If you haven't noticed, we no longer live in a transactional economy. We now live in an experience economy. Brands (the good ones, anyway) don't want you to just buy product, they want you to view it with a 360º perspective. They want you to feel it, see it, touch it, even before you purchase the damn thing. This is why Luka will be one of the biggest faces on the planet moving forward. Growing up with a digital childhood, he will want to work with brands that support the same values he does. He'll want you to know that too.
And then he'll wipe his ass with a hundred dollar bill. Damn, that guy.
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