The Most Marketable NBA Athletes of the 2013-14 Season


The hoops season is about to tip off so we thought what better time than now to examine some of the most marketable NBA athletes. Which one of these ballers is the right endorser for your brand?

The Starting Lineup

These five athletes are pushing products left and right, helping raise the bar for all NBA athletes.

1. LeBron James

LeBron James
Image: Fisherbray via Flickr

King James is sitting atop the basketball and marketing throne once again thanks to endorsement deals with Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Samsung and a long list of others.

When James speaks, consumers listen. Sales of his signature shoe rose to $300 million, a 50 percent increase, in the U.S. during 2012 according to SportsOneSource. He outsold his nearest NBA competitor by a 6-to-1 margin in the United States alone.

Furthermore, James has over 10 million Twitter followers and is one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet.

All hail the current king of NBA endorsements.


2. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant
Image: KeithAllison via Flickr

KD is the reigning scoring champion, but you wouldn’t know it because of his humility and down to earth demeanor. He has ice water in his veins and can score and make plays from anywhere on the court.

He is the biggest threat to overtake LeBron both on the court and also in terms of endorsements thanks in part to deals with Nike, Foot Locker, Gatorade, Sprint, Degree Men, EA Sports and Panini America. Winning a championship may just elevate him to the top spot.


3. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant in Manila 2013
Image: DigitalSpideyvia Flickr

Kobe Bryant isn’t just one of the most marketable athletes of the 2013-14 NBA season, he is one of the most marketable athletes EVER. Endorsements with Nike, Coca-Cola and ActiVision are a testament to that.

His cool demeanor and bright smile increase his marketability and of course playing in Los Angeles for one of the most prestigious and high profile American sports teams doesn’t hurt either.

Furthermore, in a society that loves champions, he has 5 of them.

If that isn’t enough he has increased his marketability by passionately embracing soccer and appearing at many international FIFA events. He grew up in Europe and speaks Italian and Spanish making him more accessible to fans around the globe.

Even when he retires it is likely Kobe will still be one of the most recognizable and marketable NBA superstars.


4. Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin
Image: TheDailySportsHerald via Flickr

There isn’t a better dunker in the league than Griffin. His powerful dunks bring entire crowds to their feet as they “Ohhh” and “Ahhhh” over his leaping ability.

His dunks are so unreal they are referred to as “video game dunks” which is probably why GameFly chose to use Griffin as their primary endorser. Griffin also endorses for Subway, Kia, Nike, Foot Locker, EA Sports, Vizio and Panini.

His high flying jaw dropping highlight filled style of play resonates with the young crowd and living and playing in Los Angeles feels like a natural fit for his laid back and outgoing personality.


5. Chris Paul

Chris Paul Shares a Healthy Snack
Image: FitnessGove via Flickr

He is widely considered the best point guard in the league by his peers, fans and the media. He plays a smart, intelligent and prepared game. He is the leader of his team and is often the one setting up Griffin’s dunks by feeding him lob passes.

In response, State Farm capitalized on his accountability and responsibility traits and his assist first style of play by utilizing Chris and twin brother Cliff to be the face of their “Born to Assist” campaign.

Paul and Griffin have also teamed up for endorsements with Foot Locker and Jordan Brand and can regularly be seen making high profile appearances.


“We Got Next”

These athletes are next-in-line to serve on the NBA’s All-Marketability team.

1. Kyrie Irving

Some of you may better know him as Uncle Drew. Irving has all the qualities brands look for in endorsers. He is a 360 behind the back reverse windmill slam dunk to be one of the game’s next biggest endorsers!

2. Russell Westbrook

Westbrook endorses shoes for Jordan Brand. When the greatest player to ever play the game and one of the most marketable athletes ever signs you to endorse his own personal brand, you know you are marketable.

3. James Harden

Maybe it’s the beard. Whatever it is, Harden has quickly become one of the top scorers in the league and endorsements with Nike, Foot Locker and Skull Candy are a reflection of his increasing marketability.

Up and Coming

You may not know them too well, but these NBA athletes are primed to shine.

1. Stephen Curry

Steph, as he is known, set the NBA record for 3 pointers made in a single season (272) and in doing so cemented himself as the premiere sharpshooter in the league. Playing in a small market like Oakland may limit some of his visibility but he more than makes up for it with continual Twitter engagement.

2. John Wall

Wall is often referred to as a trendsetter. His stylish off the court appearance combined with his suave game on the court put him in prime position for endorsements. Plus who doesn’t love watching him do the Dougie?

3. Paul George

Paul George went toe to toe with LeBron in the Eastern Conference Finals last year and nearly came out on top. Named the NBA’s 2013 Most Improved Player, he should also see some improvements in his endorsement lineup in the near future.

4. Damian Lillard

Damian’s leadership on the court and his eye popping stats won him Rookie of the Year in 2012. He recently signed an endorsement deal with Adidas and if he keeps playing the way he did last year more endorsements are sure to follow in the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

Build your squad

Another exciting NBA season is about to begin and right now is a great time to signup for free with opendorse so you can select which NBA athletes you want to endorse your brand.

Related Content

The State of Sponsored Social

Get the full breakdown on 36,000 branded Instagram posts published on behalf of more than 3,200 sponsors in sports