LaVar Ball told ESPN that none of the three big companies — Nike, Adidas and Under Armour — wanted to do a deal with him, at least under the terms he was asking for. “We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar said. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner.” In a marketing case study that will be cited for decades to come, Lonzo Ball eschewed a traditional sneaker endorsement deal — bypassing at least a guaranteed four-year, $10 million deal, according to industry sources. As legend goes, LaVar had a rather steep asking price in negotiations with brands.
Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the biggest sneaker free agent in the NBA, announced on social media on Tuesday that he has re-signed with Nike. Terms were not immediately available. A key component of the new Nike deal for Antetokounmpo, sources said, is that it also includes the creation of a signature shoe. The process of designing a signature shoe is typically part of a 14-18 month timeline. With the Bucks set to play the Portland Trail Blazers later this month on Nov. 30, the brand is looking to begin that process over the coming weeks and again in person at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. It is likely that the soonest a “Giannis 1” sneaker would release would be during the fall or holiday seasons of 2019, according to insiders.
With his 15th NBA campaign in store, LeBron James is not just looking ahead to another season in which he can “strive for greatness,” as he often puts it. This year, he’ll also set the mark for the longest-running continuous signature shoe line in league history (Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls career ended with his 14th Air Jordan shoe in Utah). “No one has ever reached number 15 before LeBron,” designer Jason Petrie said. “So it’s a big deal, and we want to make a celebration of technology, style and of LeBron’s game.”
Lonzo has received preliminary interest over the past year from the three current major sneaker brands outfitting NBA players: Nike, adidas and Under Armour. None of the brands have expressed a direct interest in LaVar’s “co-branding partnership” concept, which would license the family’s Big Baller Brand for Lonzo’s footwear to then be manufactured by a partner, multiple industry sources told The Vertical.
LeBron James has teamed up on a special sneaker for special athletes. The Cavaliers star and Nike have unveiled a new shoe designed for disabled athletes that can be slipped on and off more easily. The LeBron Soldier 10 FlyEase is modeled after the signature shoe worn by James, but it has no laces and can be secured with Velcro straps and zippers. “It’s about us empowering every kid and everybody to understand we are all athletes,” James said.