Feb 17 2014, 12:30pm CST | by Forbes
The 2014 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest champion is the Eastern Conference. The new Slam Dunk Contest format crowns a conference champion as opposed to awarding a single participant for providing the best highlights. However, the player who stole the show was undoubtedly Washington Wizards guard John Wall (named Most Valuable Player of the competition), who wowed the crowd by leaping over his team’s mascot and double clutched the basketball before flawlessly executing a reverse dunk with both hands.
Wall will now go back to the Washington Wizards, situated third in the Southeast division of the Eastern Conference with a record of 25-27 and on a two-game losing streak. The Wizards have not lived up to the club’s somewhat lofty expectations leading up to the 2013-14 NBA season after finishing strong in 2012-13. Yet, Wall is not to blame. He has averaged nearly 37 minutes, 20 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, all above his career averages. His three-point percentage has markedly improved, as has his free-throw percentage (at approximately 84% on the year).
A rookie’s salary in any major professional sport does not properly demonstrate a player’s value. John Wall, performing in his fourth year in the NBA, is the exception. He and his agent Dan Fegan of Relativity Sports negotiated a 5-year, $80 million maximum rookie extension with the Washington Wizards in July 2013. Wall is now being paid superstar dollars for his on-court performance. In due time, he will also become one of the most marketable players in a league that dominates all others when it comes to endorsement deals.
Wall’s off-court endorsement deals currently include partnerships with Adidas, Red Bull and Panini Authentic. Besides having an experienced contract advisor in Fegan, Wall has the support of Relativity Sports, which represents Dwight Howard, Amar’eStoudemire, Chandler Parsons and other very marketable athletes, and has a direct link to the entertainment industry through its parent company Relativity Media, which is a studio that has produced, distributed or structured financing for more than 200 motion pictures, generating more than $22 billion in worldwide box office revenue. It is also the mastermind behind a creative clip featuring nine of its basketball clients (not including Wall) in a fake movie trailer that highlights Relativity’s clients’ personalities. Relativity’s out-of-the-box resources can only help Wall reach the next level in off-court opportunities.
The guard has also paid more attention to his online persona than many other notable athletes. He launched a new website a year ago with the help of Los Angeles-based digital agency NCLUSIVE, Inc., which has consistently been updated with fresh content and is directly tapped into Wall’s social media platforms. Wall has almost 500,000 followers on Instagram, 1.4 million Likes on Facebook and 1.01 million followers on Twitter. It is unique for any person to attract that type of following on all three major social networks – John Wall does it with precision.
Perhaps the most important element to John Wall’s future off-court success is the fact that he has not over-saturated himself with partnerships and associated himself with companies he does not admire. The doors will be swinging wide open as Wall continues to contribute exceptionally on the court, build his online persona and excel in competitions like the Slam Dunk Contest. It would not hurt for the Wizards to become a competitive team, but it is not necessary for Wall to take his brand to the next level. The kicker is that while Wall is turning into one of the most prominent players in the league, his cost is still relatively low. He is not yet on the top 10 list of NBA endorsers, but it may not be long before Wall cracks the list. Companies would be wise to see his “buy rating” and act now.
Source: Forbes Business
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