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Caitlin Clark should’ve gotten Michael Jordan-type shoe deal, former Nike executive says

Caitlin Clark’s shoe deal with Nike caught the attention of former executive Sonny Vaccaro over the weekend, and he believes she should have gotten a deal similar to what Michael Jordan received.

Vaccaro helped sign Jordan to the former Chicago Bulls star’s first Nike deal in 1984.

“She should have gotten a piece of everything just like Michael Jordan,” he told TMZ Sports.

“She will never be at a higher peak than she was during college this last year in that Final Four,” he added. “If she’s going to be the greatest woman player in the world, it’s going to take time to do that — and she can do that.”

Vaccaro said there was plenty of blame to go around and that Clark should have gotten more money.

“It was so poorly handled,” he said. “I thought they (the agents) handled it wrong. I think the reason is she, just like (Sabrina) Ionescu and a couple others, (felt) obligated to Nike.”

Vaccaro also theorized that previous name, image and likeness deals also likely played a role, which other generations of basketball stars did not have.

Caitlin Clark dribbles


Clark signed an eight-year deal worth up to $28 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. Nike signed Clark in 2022 before she became the talk of the sports world with her masterful performance in the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and her record-breaking season in 2023-24, when she set the all-time scoring marks in the game.

Nike’s deal with Clark was set to expire in 2024, opening her up to free agency.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Clark commanded an average salary of $3 million per year. Nike not only made the offer of $3.5 million annually, but bet that Clark’s potential would not just transcend women’s sports in the U.S. They reportedly looked toward her being a major part in the Olympics in 2028 in Los Angeles and 2032 in Brisbane, Australia.

Caitlin Clark pulls up

Nike’s offer also included a signature shoe for Clark, according to the report.

Under Armour reportedly came the closest to courting Clark. The Athletic reported Stephen Curry was involved in the pitch and The Journal reported the offer was a four-year deal worth $16 million.

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