Odell Beckham Jr. suing Nike for preventing him from making millions: ‘I wanted to be the next Michael…LeBron…or Kobe’

Jonathan Sherman
6 Min Read

At the moment, NFL fans across the country are waiting for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to make his decision in terms of where to sign as a free agent.

While Beckham is certainly weighing his options, that isn’t the only big decision he’s managing at the moment. According to a recent report from TMZ, Beckham has decided to sue sports apparel giant Nike for millions.

Essentially, Beckham and his lawyer are claiming that the brand suppressed the sales of sneakers that would have triggered a contract extension.

Moreover, Beckham claims that when Adidas offered to sign Beckham back in 2017, Nike exercised its right to match the deal and retain the star.

However, fine print in that Nike contract allegedly included details that massively restricted the amount of money that Beckham would feasibly be able to make.

Beckham has also claimed that Nike has withheld a majority of the $2.6 million payment that he was owed back in March of 2022.

Nike has asserted that the money was withheld because he committed footwear and glove violations by altering his equipment. Beckham has retorted that he did so because Nike failed to provide him with cleats that matched the colors of his new team.

All in all, it seems like a rather ugly debacle. Beckham himself has admitted that the deal falling apart has marked the end of what was previously a dream come true. In fact, he alluded to other notable Nike athletes, including late Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant as well as current Lakers superstar LeBron James when talking about how he hoped the partnership would flourish.

“Being a Nike Athlete and Brand Icon was a dream I’ve had since being a young boy,” he said. “I wanted to be the next Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the Nike Family.

“When Nike exercised its right of first refusal to match the Adidas offer and not only kept me as a Nike Athlete, but also made me one of their Brand Icons – my dream had been fulfilled.

“Unfortunately, Nike did not honor its commitments. Throughout our partnership, I have kept my promise and fulfilled my obligations to the brand. I am extremely disappointed that I’ve had to take these measures to ensure Nike fulfills their obligations and promises.”

He went on to further explain why he believes his lawsuit is justified.

“Today, I’m taking a stand not just for me, but to set a precedent for all athletes who have dedicated their life to the sport they love – especially those who don’t have the means to stand up for themselves,” he said. “We are held responsible for fulfilling our obligations under our contracts, but we also have to hold powerful companies like Nike accountable for honoring their commitments too.

“I look forward to resolving this issue and hope we can start a real conversation about protecting athletes and their rights. This happens too often in the sports industry and it’s time for change.”

Beckham was once arguably the biggest celebrity in the NFL as well as one of its best receivers. Though he signed a five-year, $90 million deal back in 2018, with $65 million guaranteed, he likely won’t receive an offer close that amount unless he can prove that he can stay healthy and productive over the rest of the 2022 NFL season.

At the moment, it is believed that Beckham could decide which team he chooses to join in a matter of days. Teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills are considered prime candidates.

Last season with the Los Angeles Rams, he played in eight regular season games and finished with 27 catches for 305 yards and five touchdowns. He took his game to another level in the playoffs, finishing with 21 catches for 288 yards and two scores in four games.

He likely would have finished the postseason with even more impressive stats had he not torn his ACL in the Super Bowl. He got a ring out of it, but obviously the ACL tear sullied the Cinderella run.

He’ll surely look to repeat as an NFL champion with whatever team he decides to sign with next. The assumption is that he is only considering teams that seem primed to make deep runs in the playoffs this season.

Share This Article
Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.