When you think of basketball sneakers, it’s unlikely that New Balance is one of the brands that comes to mind. But that could soon change.
According to a report released by industry expert Nick DePaula, expect the company to target top players when their endorsement deals are expired. Here is what DePaula wrote about the potential shift for the brand (via ESPN):
“Longtime athletic companies like Puma, New Balance and AND1 are all looking to sign NBA players again and return to the hardwood at the game’s highest level.”
DePaula wrote that Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard will meet with brands “re-engaging on the pro stage” like New Balance once he moves on from Jordan Brand.
New Balance is also interested in Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid, who is reportedly an intriguing option for the brand because of his skills both on and off the court.
Also, as you can see below, the company recently sponsored the Boston Celtics’ new training facility.
It seems the main focus for New Balance is Celtics wing Gordon Hayward, who missed almost every minute of last season due to a leg injury suffered in his first game with the team.
“One company with strong interest in Hayward is New Balance, which would look to re-launch its dormant basketball category with the Celtics star. The company’s commitment to re-engage in hoops isn’t entirely a secret, as it recently partnered with the Celtics on the team’s new 70,000-square-foot Auerbach Center, the franchise’s new state-of-the-art training facility.”
Hayward, who plays in a big market, has a brand and image that could appeal to the brand. It’s interesting to see that companies like New Balance and Puma decided that now would be an optimal time to challenge competitors like Nike and adidas.