Top 15 Most Influential Nike Sponsored Athletes on Social

Nike Sponsored Athletes on Social Media

Nike is one of the most well known brands across the globe and sponsors some of the most high-profile athletes in the world.  All told Nike sponsored athletes can be found in over 50 countries and across a wide range of sports from cricket to the NFL.  Annually Nike spend spends north of $6 billion per year in athlete sponsorship and endorsements, making them one of the biggest athlete sponsors in the world.

With so many athletes under their endorsement umbrella, compiling a list of all Nike sponsored athletes is almost impossible but we pulled together the 15 most influential Nike sponsored athletes on social media by audience and engagement. 

15. Mike Trout | MLB

Twitter: 2.5 million
Facebook: 471, 3000
Instagram: 1.7 million

The center fielder for the LA Angels became the first baseball player since Ken Griffey, Jr to get a signature baseball cleat in 2014. In addition to the Nike Force Trout shoe line, there are also batting gloves and other baseball gear in the current collaboration between Trout and Nike.

14. Rory McIlroy | PGA Tour

Twitter: 3.2 million
Facebook: 1.2 million
Instagram: 1.9 million

The Northern Irishman originally contracted with Nike to wear their gear and golf with their clubs. In 2017 when Nike got out of the golf club business, McIlroy extended his apparel contract with the company and helped Nike stay visible in that aspect of the game.

13. Kylian Mbappe| Ligue 1

Twitter: 3.9 million
Facebook: 2.3 million
Instagram: 38.7 million

The French footballer and Nike released their first full collection of cleats and apparel late in 2019.

12. Odell Beckham Jr. | NFL

Twitter: 4 million
Facebook: 1.4 million
Instagram: 14 million

Beckham, Jr. signed the richest shoe deal Nike had ever offered to an NFL player in 2017. The 5-year deal was reportedly valued at $29 million.

11. Blake Griffen | NBA

Twitter: 4.5 million
Facebook: 3.7 million
Instagram: 3.7 million

The Detroit Pistons power forward collaborated with the Jordan brand on the Super Fly shoe line. Accompanying some of the shoe releases were amusing commercials like “Blake Griffin and Dr. Drain” to launch the Jordan Super Fly 2.

10. Russell Wilson | NFL

Twitter: 5.4 million
Facebook: 2.2 million
Instagram: 4.3 million

The Nike swoosh is prominently displayed on the shoulder of the Seattle Seahawks jersey. Wilson signed a long-term deal with Nike in 2016, and in 2019, the brand acquired a start-up company originally founded by Wilson called Trace Me.

9. Russell Westbrook | NBA

Twitter: 6.3 million
Facebook: 4.9 million
Instagram: 14.8 million

The 8-time All-Star and 2017 MVP had his first signature shoe released in 2018. He has a line of Jordan clothing and gear to go with the signature shoe. Much of the collection is called “Why Not,” which is also the name of  Westbrook’s inspirational video on Nike News.

8. Tiger Woods | PGA Tour

Twitter: 6.5 million
Facebook: 3 million
Instagram: 2.1 million

The golf legend and Nike have been in partnership since 1996. Woods wears Nike gear with the infamous swoosh logo when he plays and has been the face of numerous commercials for the company over the years.

7. Chris Paul | NBA

Twitter: 7.9 million
Facebook: 4.6 million
Instagram: 9.7 million

Paul has been designing signature shoes with the Jordan brand for years. His most recent shoe features his new logo.

6. Carmelo Anthony | NBA

Twitter: 9.1 million
Facebook: 5.2 million
Instagram: 7 million

Melo signed his first contract with Nike in 2003. His love for fashion and sneakers led to a collaboration with Nike and rag & bone clothing in 2018.

5. Rafael Nadal | ATP

Twitter: 15.7 million
Facebook: 14.3 million
Instagram: 8.8 million

The Spanish tennis star has the Rafa line of tennis apparel and clothing with Nike, currently featuring the color pink.

4. Kevin Durant | NBA

Twitter: 18.1 million
Facebook: 10.1 million
Instagram: 11.7 million

The 2014 league MVP signed a 10-year endorsement contract extension with Nike that same year. He has a line of shoes and apparel with the KD name on it.

3. LeBron James | NBA

Twitter: 45.1 million
Facebook: 23.1 million
Instagram: 59.7 million

LeBron James has a lifetime deal valued at $1 billion with Nike. The basketball star first signed with the sports giant in 2003 and his Nike shoe collaborations are constantly top sellers.

2. Neymar | Ligue 1

Twitter: 45.5 million
Facebook: 60 million
Instagram: 133 million

As a nod to the Brazilian soccer star’s high-speed play, the newest line of Nike cleats with his name on them have an auto-racing design complete with a checkered flag motif.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo | Serie A

Twitter: 82.7 million
Facebook: 122 million
Instagram: 203 million

Ronaldo is generally considered to be the highest paid athlete in the world. He first signed with Nike in 2003 and in 2016 signed a lifetime deal valued at $1 billion. He has reportedly worn over 60 different Nike cleats during their years working together.

These 15 Nike sponsored athletes are some of the most well-known sports professionals in the world and command a combined social media following of over one billion followers and generate over 3 billion engagements annually on social platforms.  In fact, athletes with Nike endorsement deals were some of the most followed athletes on social media in 2019 making them a solid investment for Nike. 

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