James Harden

50 Most Marketable 2016 - James Harden

James Harden


Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.

  • Value for money
  • Age
  • Home market
  • Charisma
  • Willingness to be marketed
  • Crossover appeal

American, 26, Basketball

Sharp shooter still scoring big on and off the court

Representatives: Landmark Sports Agency

Key partners: Adidas, BodyArmor, BBVA, Stance

2015 ranking: 26


Forget ‘The Beard’, it is the man behind it who is now firmly established as one of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) hottest properties. James Harden secured his fourth straight All-Star appearance this season, scoring more points per game than anyone in the league and leading the Houston Rockets to their fourth consecutive play-offs in the process.

Off the court, too, the stat-racking guard has joined the ranks of basketball’s elite in the past 12 months. When Adidas marketing chiefs decided that their exclusive NBA deal had run its course, choosing to step aside for Nike when their agreement expires next year, they elected to go after individual player endorsements instead. At the top of their list was the indomitable and instantly recognisable Harden, who surely could never have imagined that he would be accepting a 13-year, US$200 million shoe contract before his 26th birthday.

“His ceiling is far from reached,” Chris Grancio, Adidas’ global basketball general manager, said at the time, “which tells you the future for him and our brand looks incredible.” With a big say in how he is marketed from here on in, Harden is a force to be reckoned with. ML

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