A signature sneaker is one of the most difficult feats to accomplish as an NBA player. If you look around the league and stick with the big three of Nike, Adidas and Under Armor, there are only eight active NBA players with signature marks. The criteria for being a signature athlete are strict, with the obvious ultimate goal of selling as many shoes as possible. When a brand selects a player to model a shoe, it’s a multi-million dollar investment in a single player. It’s a gamble to really see how much a player’s market value can turn into shoes and clothing. Do they have the style and the charisma? Do they have what it takes to be the face of a brand? All of the elite shoe endorsers like LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Stephen Curry all have something that makes them profitable off the court.
Nike recently added Paul George to its list of athletes and the PG1s have garnered rave reviews from consumers. So who’s next? We’ve compiled a list of six guys who can have what it takes to earn their own signature sneaker.
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Kristaps Porzingis: Adidas
Porzingis was one of the most prominent sneaker free agents of 2016 thanks to his outstanding rookie season with the Knicks. The Latvian native quickly won fans over with his personality and ability to perform on Madison Square Garden’s biggest stage. He is 7’3 “and became the first rookie in NBA history to post more than 1,000 points, 75 three-points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a season. After his Nike contract expired. Last fall, Porzingis signed a multi-year contract with adidas, as Vertical’s Nick DePaula reported, which will bring in between $ 3-6 million a year. It is also the most lucrative footwear business for a European player. It’s a solid investment for a player with only one year in the league. Porzingis joins James Harden, Damian Lillard and Andrew Wiggins on a budding adidas roster. Porzingis has shared marketing tasks with Wiggins for being the face of the adidas Crazy Explosive this season What’s scary is we still don’t I know what can happen to Porzingis, but investing in a 7ft unicorn can’t be too bad. The Adidas KP1 sounds great.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Nike
Giannis follows the same line as Porzingis in terms of the perspective of iconic sneakers. There is no cap on its potential. Moreover, like Porzingis, this is another unicorn with a charming personality. His growth as a superstar has been one of the best stories of this NBA season. What comes with the investment in Giannis is his international popularity and the rights to a pretty good nickname that can be branded everywhere – “The Greek Freak”. Nike doesn’t really hand out signing deals that often, but it would be a good idea to position Giannis against Adidas and Porzingis in this international market.
John Wall: Nike?
John Wall has one of the most complicated sneaker stories of all time for a player of his caliber. After bouncing off shoe deals with Reebok and Adidas, Wall has worn Nike models throughout the past year. He’s by no means a rookie of the signature shoe – he released three different signature sneakers, but they were all underwhelming. Wall has become a star this season and deserves a fresh start, whether with Nike or anyone else, remains to be seen. What would make the most sense is for Under Armor to sign a lucrative deal with Wall and offload part of Steph Curry’s charge. The brand is in desperate need of another basketball athlete after hitting other big names like Kevin Durant and Porzingis over the past two years. It’s also worth noting that UA’s head office is located in Baltimore, which isn’t that far from the DC area. Under Armor, please call John Wall.
Anthony Davis: Nike
After Paul George, it looks like Anthony Davis is next in line at Nike for his own basketball figure. Davis has been marketed on several campaigns for the Swoosh. He’s already a star and has had his fair share of commercials, but there’s one major complication: Will an AD basketball sneaker actually sell? This is not a question directed at his athletic ability or his personality, but his position as a great man / post player. The only way to make a ‘Brow’ shoe successful is to be versatile enough to be worn by tall men and guards. He’s been a part of Nike’s PE program for several years, which is a step just below the signature list. He wore the Nike Air Max Audacity 2016 throughout the season.
Kawhi Leonard: the Jordan brand
OK, I’m looking for a signature Kawhi sneaker, but I’m not sure if Kawhi really cares about getting a signature sneaker. He has an underrated sneaker game thanks to solid Jordan PE. Having a signature Jordan brand sneaker isn’t for everyone. The brand has a process of adding players built into Jordan’s image. This is the reason why players like Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook have iconic role models for the brand – they are some of the most cut-throat contenders in the NBA. You can also add Kawhi to this list despite his calm demeanor. Jordan released a few new performance models this year, the Jordan Extra.Fly and the Jordan B. Fly, both used by Victor Oladipo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. If they can bring their own models to market, Kawhi can easily join the ranks by having their own signature sneaker.
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Nick Young: Adidas
In terms of having his own basketball shoe, Nick Young probably doesn’t stand a chance at adidas. But with her popularity and style, they can easily go the Westbrook / Jordan Brand route to give her her own lifestyle model. He has enough charisma and a fashion sense to wear a shoe off the court. Over the years, Swaggy has made some of the most daring fashion statements on and off the pitch. Adidas needs to find a way to use it before its time is up.