There’s never been a more transparent time when it comes to professional athletes, the brands they support, and the money that fuels that partnership. LeBron’s getting checks from Beaverton until the day he dies, Harden’s nine-figure deal from adidas was mind-blogging, and the numbers behind Under Armour’s surge thanks to Steph Curry is a business analyst’s wet dream. Even those who don’t have shoe deals make the headlines, as guys like John Wall and previously Nick Young would get our attention with their unpredictable in-game sneaker selections. Things are about to change, especially for those mid-level players who will likely never see big dollars from the major companies; ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that NFL prospect Ronnie Stanley signed a shoe deal not with a particular brand, but a retailer that allows him to wear any brand he wants without stepping on anyone’s toes.
That deal is with Vegas-based Zappos, the online retailer known for discounted deals as well as newer in-line products. Stanley says he will wear Nike or Under Armour, but his deal with Zappos will let him wear any brand he wants – even allowing him to switch shoes and brands during a game. The only hook is that Nike and Under Armour are the only brands that can have their logos shown on-field, so if he wants to wear a pair of adidas cleats, he’ll have to cover up the logo. Is this the most unique shoe-deal in history? Let us know in the comments below and read the full piece on ESPN.