Nick DePaula on Puma's return, upcoming sneaker free agents, covering China Klay and more

Nick DePaula on Puma's return, upcoming sneaker free agents, covering China Klay and more


Nick DePaula on Puma's return, upcoming sneaker free agents, covering China Klay and more

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On this episode of The HoopsHype Podcast, Alex Kennedy talks with Nick DePaula of ESPN. They discuss some of the upcoming sneaker free agents, the resurrection of Puma and what’s next for the brand, Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s signature shoe, the sneaker deals for the 2018 rookie class, Nick’s trip to China to shadow Klay Thompson and more. Time-stamps are below!

0:55: How Nick carved out this niche for himself and decided to cover the NBA from a sneaker angle.

3:05: The growth of sneaker culture in recent years.

4:50: How will moving to the Los Angeles Lakers affect LeBron James‘ shoe sales?

7:55: Did Kevin Durant‘s shoe sales take a hit when he joined the Golden State Warriors and upset fans?

10:25: Puma hadn’t released a basketball shoe since 1999 and then made a huge splash this summer, signing Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr.Zhaire Smith and Rudy Gay. They also announced that Jay Z would be their creative director. Nick shares his initial reaction to Puma’s resurgence and suggests more signings are likely to come in the fall.

13:50: Puma also has Rihanna, Big Sean, The Weeknd, Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez and Nipsey Hussle among others. Nick talks about how Puma is trying to bring together sports, music, style and culture.

15:00: Recently, some rookies have decided to wait until after summer league to sign a shoe endorsement because, if they do well, they can get a bigger deal. It worked for players like Damian Lillard and Dennis Smith Jr. Which rookies are taking that approach this summer? (Nick also discusses why this draft class is different because there are so many big men.)

17:30: Nike has only signed Luka Doncic and Collin Sexton, but they have so much star power so they aren’t worried.

21:06: Joel Embiid is a sneaker free agent this fall and Nick breaks down how he’s making people reassess whether “big men don’t sell shoes.”

21:40: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s signature shoe is right around the corner. He’s in a smaller market, but he’s beloved – on and off the court – and while he has a big man’s body, he plays like a guard or point forward. Nick projects how Giannis’ shoe will sell.

24:20: Right now, everyone is wondering what’s next for Kawhi Leonard in terms of his basketball future, but he can also become a sneaker free agent in the fall if he doesn’t work things out with Jordan Brand. Nick provides an update on that situation.

28:36: DeMarcus Cousins is also a sneaker free agent this fall. Nick discusses where he stands as a big man who’s coming off a serious injury and joining the Warriors.

31:10: Does Puma have the money and notability to already start going after top-tier sneaker free agents like Embiid, Leonard and Cousins?

33:25: Next year, Devin Booker is a sneaker free agent and every brand is already circling him.

34:00: Nick talks about his trip to China and what it was like shadowing Klay Thompson during his tour with Anta.

38:30: Should people be paying more attention to the Chinese shoe brands like Anta, Li-Ning and Peak?

This episode is sponsored by the BIG3. Get your tickets to BIG3 games at or tune in LIVE every Friday night on Fox or FS1.

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