Adidas athletes: A list of the most influential athletes sponsored by Adidas

Adidas athletes: A list of the most influential athletes sponsored by Adidas

Claudia Kogi
updated at August 9, 2023 at 9:30 AM

Have you ever wondered who Adidas athletes are? The prestigious company sponsors many famous athletes, including NBA star Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, and MLB player Bryce Harper, among others. And while some might presume that the company only sponsors athletes, that's far from it; it also sponsors supermodels like Gisele Bundchen.

Highest paid Adidas athletes
Adidas athletes: A list of the most influential athletes sponsored by Adidas. Photo: Minas Panagiotakis (Modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

In 2011, the most prominent sports brands paid famous athletes to endorse their items; of course, Adidas was no exception. Legendary players like Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and LeBron James are all Adidas affiliates. Is there something like lifetime Adidas athletes? Can Adidas athletes wear Jordans? Let's find all that out right here.

Top 10 Adidas-sponsored athletes

Like other sports apparel companies, Adidas sponsors famous athletes to carry the brand and gain a massive boost in its popularity and merchandise sales. In other words, it is more of a win-win "scratch my back I scratch your back" situation.

Boasting a broad horizon of endorsers, they partner with superstars across all sports, paying them up to hundreds of millions of dollars, a hefty reward meant to complement these athletes' talents, achievements, and influence among consumers.

According to recent data analysis, here is a compiled list of the highest-paid Adidas athletes.

10. Mohamed Salah

Adidas' football athletes
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool in action during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield on 12th November 2022, in Liverpool, England. Photo: Jan Kruger
Source: Getty Images

The Egyptian-born soccer player Mohamed Salah is one of the soccer players sponsored by Adidas. The Liverpool superstar and one of the sport's most decorated players is the icon of the German-based sports brand's attempt to dominate the African markets.

9. Zinedine Zidane

Highest paid Adidas athletes
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane during the La Liga match against Sevilla FC, played at Alfredo di Stefano Stadium on 9th May 2021, in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Ruben Albarran
Source: Getty Images

Hailing from France, Zinedine Zidane became famous for steering his country to winning the 1998 World Cup against Brazil and the 2000 European Championship against Italy. He is most recogniszd for his superb ball control and extraordinary vision on the pitch.

Adidas eyed the talented Zidane and took advantage of his popularity, partnering with him throughout his career. Even though he is a retired soccer player, he found immense success as a manager and continued to be part of the three-stripped company.

8. Donovan Mitchell

Top Adidas athletes
Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers warms up prior to the game against the Toronto Raptors on 28th November 2022, at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Vaughn Ridley
Source: Getty Images

Donovan Mitchell's name never used to ring a bell until his tremendous breakthrough in 2017, when he became part of the Utah Jazz. He then became integral to the team's playoff run for two consecutive years and won the NBA Slam Dunk King contest as a rookie.

Following his apparent success, Adidas might have felt the need to act quickly, signing Spida under a multi-year contract in 2017, worth $5-$15 million per year.

7. James Harden

Can Adidas athletes wear Jordans?
James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Utah Jazz at the Wells Fargo Center on 13th November 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Mitchell Leff
Source: Getty Images

James Harden is regarded as one of the best all-around NBA players and prolific scorers. He often generates nearly triple-doubles in every outing. An example of that is when he won the 2018 NBA regular season MVP and his 10x NBA All-Star, and 6x All-NBA First Team selections.

In 2015, Adidas snatched him from Nike after successfully signing "The Beard" under a 13-year contract amounting to $200 million. His deal is among the most notable deals that the company has ever secured in recent years.

6. Paulo Dybala

Adidas' American football athletes
Paulo Dybala of Argentina during the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup Group C match between Argentina and Mexico at Lusail Stadium on 26th November 2022, in Lusail City, Qatar. Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt
Source: Getty Images

Formerly sponsored by Nike, Paulo Dybala currently dons the Adidas Copa soccer cleats, placing him among the most prominent names carrying the brand in the football world. The Argentine and former Juventus attacker signed with the company prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

5. Ana Ivanovic

Top female Adidas athletes
Ana Ivanovic during the Robbie Williams One Show & One Night Only concert at the VIP area at Messe Muenchen on 27th August 2022, in Munich, Germany. Photo: Gisela Schober
Source: Getty Images

And just when you thought the list was male-dominated, meet Ana Ivanovic, a Serbian-based female tennis star. She wore the three stripes for a long time in her professional career and continues to do so even after retiring from competitive tennis in 2016.

The famous tennis star penned a lifetime partnership with the German brand and continues to join initiatives and programs by the company, including its recent promotion of an eco-friendly clothing collection. She is among the top female Adidas athletes.

4. Derrick Rose

Lifetime Adidas athletes
Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks in action against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on 30th November 2022, in New York City. Photo: Mike Stobe
Source: Getty Images

Flaunting the Chicago Bulls uniform, Rose made waves in the NBA after being the youngest MVP in the league's history in 2011. While others saw Derrick Rose, Adidas saw an up-and-coming Michael Jordan and penned a $180 million 14-year sponsorship deal with him.

Additionally, he had other benefits, such as access to a private jet and donations to organizations. He is among the best NBA Adidas athletes today.

3. David Beckham

Can Adidas athletes wear Jordans?
David Beckham attends The Earthshot Prize 2022 at MGM Music Hall at Fenway, on 2nd December 2022, in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Ian Vogler-Pool
Source: Getty Images

What is this list without the legendary former football player David Beckham? The outstanding midfielder is renowned for his charismatic persona on and off the pitch. His terrific performance during his stint with Manchester United and Real Madrid made him a genuine asset for the German sports brand.

He inked his lifetime contract with the brand, worth $160 million; by then, it was one of the biggest sponsorships deals the company had ever penned.

2. Damian Lillard

Top male Adidas athletes
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers handles the ball during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on 9th November 2022, at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Kent Smith
Source: Getty Images

In 2012, after Adidas acknowledged Damian Lillard's potential, they immediately signed the Portland-based Trail Blazers point guard for an endorsement deal after he won the NBA Rookie of The Year Award.

Later in 2014, he extended his contract to a 10-year period, which amounted to $100 million. This deal ultimately made him one of the highest-earning NBA players then.

1. Lionel Messi

Highly regarded as one of the greatest football players in the world, his success and popularity enabled him to ink one of the most lucrative sponsorship deals in the sports world. He has been associated with Adidas since 2006, and in 2017, he penned a lifetime deal with the company.

Adidas South American football athletes
Lionel Messi of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Poland and Argentina at Stadium 974 on 30th November 2022, in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Catherine Ivill
Source: Getty Images

While the size of the contract is still under covers, it is alleged that he earns around $27 million annually from the company without even lifting a finger.

What soccer players are sponsored by Adidas

Adidas, the German brand, has always been present in football history. It has signed with famous former soccer players such as:

  • Steven Gerrard
  • Frank Lampard
  • Iker Casillas
  • Michel Platini
  • Gerd Muller

Like other prestigious sports brands such as Reebok, Nike, Puma, and Under Armour, Adidas' athletes are renowned for their endorsement deals and how far they often go in endorsing particular products. Besides, these deals often enable athletes to close million-dollar deals and help promote the products of billion-dollar corporations.

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Claudia Kogi photo
Claudia Kogi
Claudia Kogi is a Kenyan content creator with over 3 years of experience. Claudia joined as a writer in January 2022, covering sports and relatable content.