Rich Paul, CEO and founder of Klutch Sports Group, the agency behind the careers of NBA superstars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis, shared his thoughts on what could have been with Allen Iverson.
“Allen Iverson’s impact post-Michael Jordan was second-to-none. Give me Allen Iverson leaving Georgetown, coming into the league, and today Allen Iverson will have a billion-dollar brand,” Paul told “The Colin Cowherd Podcast.”
After being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996, Iverson signed a 10-year, $50 million deal with Reebok. The Hall of Famer’s immediate success on the court translated into strong business for Reebok.
Iverson’s first signature sneaker, released his rookie year, would spin off 18 different models from 1996 until 2014. His series of shoes is the third-longest-running basketball line in history behind Air Jordan and LeBron’s Nike line.
“The business to be built with Allen Iverson would’ve been still sustainable today. I think he would’ve been neck-and-neck with the ‘Black Cat’ [Jordan],” Paul said.
Jordan has built his Air Jordan brand into one of the most recognizable brands in the world, regardless of industry, and is now worth $1.6 billion, per Forbes.
But Iverson is still reaping the benefits of his brand, despite not having the same commercial success as Jordan. The former NBA MVP now has a lifetime endorsement contract with Reebok that includes a preventative clause that pays him $800,000 annually and provides access to a $32 million trust fund in 2030.