One of the hallmarks of NBA success is having your own sneaker deal. Sometimes deals are based on potential rather than professional performance, however, like Reebok’s deal with Washington Wizards guard John Wall in 2010. Even though the guard hadn’t stepped on the NBA court, he was earmarked for success.
Nearly 10 years later, though, things are quite different. In fact, Wall’s on-going injury problems could even cost him his current sneaker deal.
John Wall’s injury problems
John Wall arrived in the NBA with great fanfare; he was supposed to be the league’s next great guard. While he lived up to that potential during his rookie and sophomore seasons, injuries started slowing him down.
In 2012, Wall missed the start of the season with a non-traumatic stress injury in his left knee. While he would spend 33 games on the sidelines, Wall seemed to recover without a hitch; he would play the next several seasons with no significant issues.
Wall would suffer a few more minor knee issues during the 2015-16 season, culminating in offseason surgery. In November 2017, though, he had an MRI on his left knee and received PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections to ease the inflammation. He would have another surgery to “clean up” the joint a few months later.
In 2018, the point guard had surgery on his heel to eliminate lingering discomfort. During his recovery, however, Wall developed an infection in the incision. He then slipped and fell, rupturing his Achilles Tendon, adding an additional 12 months to his recovery time.
John Wall’s sneaker deals
When Wall came into the NBA, he signed a deal with Reebok. That deal was transferred to Addidas, where he launched two signature sneakers, but things didn’t end happily. The point guard split off from the brand after the contract expired in September 2015.
The point guard spent the next couple of years playing as a sneaker “free agent,” hoping to get an offer that he felt matched his status as a player. In January 2018, however, Wall returned to Addidas. He signed a five-year endorsement deal with the company, encompassing both footwear and apparel.
Since signing that deal, however, Wall has barely seen that court. Unsurprisingly, Addidas isn’t too happy about that.
Is an Addidas buy out incoming?
This week, reports surfaced that Addidas was looking to buy Wall out of the remainder of their deal. Given the point guard’s injuries—he’s unlikely to return this season and has struggled to remain healthy throughout his entire pro career—the move seems to make sense from a brand perspective.
While the move might make sense from a financial perspective, it will surely add insult to injury for Wall. He’s already lost another year of his career to a freak accident; this is just the latest kick in the teeth.
Whenever John Wall returns to the NBA court, he’ll be prepared to prove he still can compete at the highest level. Now he’ll be playing to catch the eye of a sneaker executive, too. Even as a professional athlete, a little extra motivation can’t hurt.