If he were to turn down more than $25 million per year, a recreation center built in his mother's name and a chance to be the face of Under Armour, Kevin Durant had to get a seriously juicy offer from Nike.
And that's exactly what happened.
The Oklahoma City Thunder star and reigning NBA MVP announced he'll walk away from Under Armour's enormous offer, reportedly between $265 million and $285 million over 10 years, in favor of re-signing with Nike. According to ESPN the Oregon-based company will pay Durant more than the Thunder will during the next two years (about $41 million). Durant's deal may be worth as much as $300 million for the next decade.
Like he did when he re-signed with the Thunder in 2010, Durant announced the new Nike deal on Twitter.
Excited and humbled to sign back with the swoosh!
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) September 1, 2014
Under Armour went hard after Durant, and the Baltimore-based company capitalized on the fact that it is headquartered only 36 miles away from where Durant grew up. While Durant has been loyal to Nike throughout his career, even taking less money to sign with the company as a rookie, he reportedly gave Under Armour a serious look.
But Nike's deal was too good for Durant to pass up. The exact terms of the offer are unclear, but it's fair to say it's significantly more than the $20 million per year that Nike initially offered Durant. The second pick of the 2007 NBA draft has developed into a cash cow for Nike, and last year sales of Durant's "KD" shoe generated $175 million for Nike.
Whereas Durant may be the third most popular NBA player on Nike's label -- after LeBron James and Kobe Bryant -- he would have been the top dog at Under Armour. In that sense it would have been a riskier move to sign with Under Armour but also, depending on how his career develops, it could have been more profitable. Under Armour reportedly offered Durant 10 percent stock options.
"Although the money was big, sources close to Durant say the decision weighed on him. Going back to Nike comes with a sense of relief, those sources said, because Durant, who has turned into one of the league's most marketable stars, can still make significant money without being associated with the risks of Under Armour's fledgling shoe business."
Was Durant playing the shoe companies against each other as a way to get more money? Perhaps. Durant's 2012 U.S. Olympic squad teammate Andre Iguodala seemed to believe Under Armour had no chance at landing him.
@24Bazemore I had a better shot at Halle berry!
— Andre Iguodala (@andre) September 1, 2014
Still, many spectators were on edge during the process, and when Durant made his decision final he got a shout out from none other than Nike's most important endorser.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 1, 2014