Johnny Manziel and the 15 Most Famous Athletes Who Signed With Nike

1 of 16

The 15 Most Famous Athletes To Endorse Nike

USA
USA Today Sports

In not-so-surprising news, Johnny Manziel has signed an endorsement deal with Nike. To many, it wasn't really a question of if he would sign with the famous shoe company, it was a matter of when. The financial terms of the deal are not available at this point, but it's said to be the largest of any athlete in this year's class. Again, that fact is not surprising.

Manziel is exactly the kind of athlete that Nike likes to sign on. They typically land the biggest stars and whether you like him or not, there's no doubt that Johnny Football is the biggest star in the 2014 NFL draft class.

Nike is one of the most well known brands in the world. The company has reached this point with tremendous marketing, mixed with mega-star power. Once famous athletes started signing on and Nike commercials flooded the airways back in the 1980s -- it was a done deal. Nike was the next big thing in the sports world.

I don't even think it would be going overboard to call the folks at Nike 'marketing geniuses'. Over the years, they've convinced millions of kids (and sadly millions of adults) that they 'have to have' shoes and lots of other sporting apparel. On top of that, the Nike logo is one of the most recognizable out there. Everyone knows what the swoosh represents.

So besides Manziel, who are some other famous athletes to endorse Nike? It's not really fair to rank the athletes based on pay, because guys who signed on back in the 1990s, obviously didn't make as much as endorsers do today. Also, Lance Armstrong will not be on this list, even though he was huge for Nike. That guy turned out to be a fraud, so screw him.

2 of 16

Andre Agassi

USA
USA Today Sports

Nike and tennis are very good friends, as you'll see throughout this list. Agassi was the most polarizing tennis player in the 1990s, so of course he landed himself a deal with the famous shoe company.

3 of 16

Christiano Ronaldo

USA
USA Today Sports

Huge soccer star and a Nike deal -- it makes sense on so many levels. Like him or not, Ronaldo gets lots of attention and that's exactly the kind of athlete that Nike likes to sign.

4 of 16

Pete Sampras

Getty-Images
Getty Images

Sampras wasn't as charismatic as Agassi, but he was a bigger star in terms of winning tournaments. He was the standard for male tennis back in the 1990s and Nike had to have him on board.

5 of 16

Maria Sharapova

@livetennis
@livetennis

Sharapova currently has the largest Nike endorsement deal for females. Per year, she makes a whopping $8.75 million.

6 of 16

Roger Federer

USA
USA Today Sports

Even though his game has fallen off in recent years, Federer still makes a staggering $10 million per year from Nike. He better ride this train as far as it will take him.

7 of 16

Rafael Nadal

usa
USA Today Sports

As you can see, Nike is all about tennis stars. Nadal currently makes the most of any tennis player in the world, as he signed a 10-year deal in 2008 worth more than $10 million per year.

8 of 16

Rory McIlroy

USA
USA Today Sports

McIlroy isn't the biggest golf star in the world, but he does make the most money from Nike. Some reports have him making up to $25 million per year for wearing the famous swoosh.

9 of 16

Kevin Durant

USA
USA Today Sports

KD is not quite as famous as other basketball Nike endorsers, but that doesn't stop him from hauling in over $8 million per year for wearing Nike kicks.

10 of 16

Deion Sanders

USA
USA Today Sports

Of course Neon Deion got him some Nike money back in the day. The guy was polarizing to say the least, and he just so happened to be a big time two-sport star.

11 of 16

Bo Jackson

USA
USA Today Sports

The Nike 'Bo Knows' ads are legendary. They ran back in 89-90 and catered towards people engaged in more than one sport, just like Bo.

12 of 16

Kobe Bryant

Getty Images
Getty Images

After initially signing on with Adidas out of high school, Bryant eventually ended up with Nike in 2003. Since then, the Kobe line of shoes have become extremely popular in the US and China. Bryant currently makes about $8 million a year from Nike.

13 of 16

LeBron James

g
Getty Images

JBL was a Nike dream come true. Upon his arrival in the NBA in 2003, James signed a mega $93 million endorsement deal with the famous shoe company.

14 of 16

Derek Jeter

USA
USA Today Sports

You know that Nike had to have The Captain on board. He's the face or New York sports and MLB. Jeter is currently in the midst of a 10-year/$100 million deal.

15 of 16

Tiger Woods

g
Getty Images

One of the first athletes who comes to mind when thinking about Nike is no doubt Tiger Woods. Immediately upon becoming a pro in 1996, Woods signed on with Nike and the rest is history. He was the first guy to really endorse Nike golf, and now because of him, Nike is household name in world of golf.

16 of 16

Michael Jordan

g
Getty Images

Jordan is undoubtedly the top dog when it comes to Nike and shoe endorsement deals (or endorsement deals in general, for that matter). Even though he hasn't stepped on a basketball court in a decade, he still makes $60 million in annual royalties from Nike. Without Jordan, Nike certainly wouldn't be where it's at today.


Around the Web