Signing an NBA player to an endorsement deal isn’t cheap. Companies often create creative marketing campaigns for athletes to draw attention to their brands. This is what Alaska Airlines did after getting NBA star Kevin Durant to endorse the airline. Rather than just making him a spokesman, the company gave Durant an official-sounding title: adviser to the CEO.
Here are the details of the deal and what makes Durant an attractive spokesperson for firms.
Kevin Durant: NBA superstar
After playing one season at the University of Texas, Durant went to the then-SuperSonics with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. He became one of the centerpieces of the franchise when the team moved to Oklahoma following that 2007-08 season.
As Basketball-Reference details, Durant spent his first nine NBA seasons with the Oklahoma City franchise. Then, he signed with the Warriors before the 2016-17 season. He played three seasons there before signing with the Nets the last offseason. In his 12 seasons in the NBA, Durant is averaging 27 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game.
The 10-time All-Star has won four scoring titles and is a two-time NBA champion with the Warriors. Durant was named the Rookie of the Year in 2007-08 and was the MVP in 2013-14. He was also named the Finals MVP both times he was on the title-winning team.
Durant’s career earnings
Durant initially signed a two-year, $8.65 million contract with the Sonics, reports Spotrac. The team subsequently picked up a couple of single-year options. Durant’s first major payday came in the summer of 2010 when he signed a five-year extension with the Thunder worth $89 million.
On July 4, 2016, he officially cut ties with the organization; he signed a two-year, $54.3 million contract with the Warriors. Durant signed additional contracts with Golden State the next two summers. In 2019, he left the Warriors and agreed to a four-year, $164.26 million deal as part of a sign-and-trade that sent him to the Nets. All told, his career earnings to date total more than $225 million.
Kevin Durant’s endorsement deal with Alaska Airlines
In 2017, Alaska Airlines announced it had signed Durant as the company’s “newest MVP.” Company CEO Brad Tilden cited Durant’s “exceptional talent, work ethic, and heart” as reasons why Alaska Airlines gave the basketball star the official title of “adviser to the CEO.”
As part of the exclusive partnership, Durant represents the Seattle-based company at Bay Area events and in key marketing initiatives. Durant also works with Tilden and other employees at the airline to support youth and education programs. One of these is the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, which enriches the lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds.
Durant’s other endorsements and net worth
Alaska is far from the only company that has called upon Durant to endorse a product or service. Bleacher Report details some of the other sponsorships Durant has collected in his career.
Perhaps the biggest is the 10-year contract he signed with Nike in 2014 that “has the potential to reach $300 million and includes a $50 million retirement package.” That came after the expiration of a seven-year contract with Nike that was worth at least $60 million.
Other companies in Durant’s endorsement portfolio include Google, Gatorade, Sonic Drive-In, Beats by Dre, and Sprint. Between his earnings on the court and all of the commercial work and sponsorships he has, Durant’s net worth is estimated at $170 million — not bad for a 31-year-old.