Storyline: Sneaker Deals

468 rumors in this storyline

In June, Harrell inked a partnership with AND1, the NBA footwear and clothing brand that built an iconic legacy in the late 1990s and early 2000s with its summer mixtape series and partnerships with culture-setting athletes like Kevin Garnett, Ben Wallace, Jamal Crawford and Stephon Marbury. Harrell is now the face of AND1 and works alongside Garnett, the company’s creative director and global ambassador, to launch new shoes and products. Harrell will exclusively wear AND1 sneakers next season, but will still switch out his shoes for a different pair at halftime. Off the court, he’s allowed to wear non-AND1 shoes (so, no, he won’t be selling off his impressive collection of Jordans, Nikes, Adidas, etc.). He has a potential collaboration with Wallace in the works and will be wearing exclusive colors of AND1’s new model, the Attack 2.0, to start the season.

More Rumors in this Storyline

This year’s footwear class could feature the most potential since 2012, when Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, James Harden and Dwyane Wade were all up. Of the four then-Nike athletes, two switched to Jordan Brand, Wade opted for a lucrative deal with Li-Ning, and Harden re-signed with Nike for just two years, before bolting for a 13-year deal with Adidas in 2014. Once again, each of the top five players in this year’s class are currently under contract with Nike. The brand would ideally like to keep all five: Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Kyle Kuzma, D’Angelo Russell and PJ Tucker.

Other players around the league expected to draw interest include Marcus Smart, as Boston-based Puma has already moved into the lead to eventually sign the nearby Celtics guard. Though talks are ongoing, he was spotted walking into USA Basketball’s welcome gathering clad in Puma gear, then laced up the brand’s Uproar sneaker in white, blue and red to kick off USAB training camp. Thanks to their overnight free-agency haul, LA Clippers shooter Landry Shamet is also hitting the market at an ideal time, potentially able to take advantage both of the team’s LA market size and their expected chance to contend for a championship right away this season.

Zion Williamson has still NOT signed a shoe deal — despite being the most sought after NBA draft pick since LeBron James — and our sources say it’s all because of Puma. Nike was believed to be the front-runner to sign Zion for months … with legendary former Nike exec Sonny Vaccaro telling us he thinks Zion’s deal could hit the 9-figure mark. And, with Zion rocking Nikes in college, in pre-draft workouts and in some NBA Summer league games … it seemed like it was just a matter of time before Zion signed with the Swoosh.

According to one NBA source, Williamson has yet to select an agent, a decision that seems inevitable before he signs a lucrative shoe deal. For now, Williamson is surrounded by his mother and stepfather, who have deftly guided him through every step of his journey. Sharonda Sampson and Lee Anderson have quietly helped create the phenomenon, even electing not to do interviews during Williamson’s year at Duke. Most important, Wiggins says, they’ll still be there to help Williamson select an agent. “I’ve got great parents, great siblings, a great circle that care for me and would do anything for me, protect me,” Wiggins says. “That’s the main thing, having a good circle around you.”

It’s too early to know what Williamson’s sneaker contract will be worth, but he comes with a built-in audience that includes 2.3 million Instagram followers and 227,000 Twitter followers. Various industry experts said his deal could be worth $50-$100 million. “That’s the number it should be, I don’t know,” said grassroots sneaker guru Sonny Vaccaro, who signed both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to sneaker deals, and was involved in LeBron James’ negotiations as well.
5 months ago via ESPN

Shoe deal for Zion Williamson before NBA draft lottery?

Like James, whose deal was done before the draft lottery that would eventually land him in Cleveland, Williamson is expected by industry insiders to have a deal inked before this year’s May 14 draft lottery, as the major sneaker companies see Williamson as a potential marketing superstar regardless of which market he lands in. Back in 2003, James met with Reebok and turned down a $10 million check from the CEO to sign a potential $100 million deal with the brand on the spot. James would instead sign with Nike a week later for a fully guaranteed $87 million over seven years, and now has a lifetime deal with the company.
5 months ago via ESPN

According to sources, executives have already begun to have company balance discussions around targeting Williamson to be a Jordan athlete instead, given Nike’s current crowded stable. There have been conflicting viewpoints on whether or not that would be the right decision. “There could be some hurt feelings,” Vaccaro said. “Other than those five [signature athletes] at Nike, another 20 of them are pretty goddamn great players that could be going to the Hall of Fame and don’t have [a shoe]. They’ve been on the totem pole, and now [Zion] is going to get a zillion-dollar contract and go above everyone else.”

As for the reinforced shoes, the Kyrie 4 model, Williamson was effusive after the game. “The shoes were incredible,” he told reporters. “I want to thank Nike for making these.” That’s music to Nike’s ears. The biggest question following Williamson’s injury was whether it would hurt Nike’s chances to sign him to an endorsement deal once he decides to go pro. If Thursday’s results were any indication, their relationship may be healthier than some rival shoes companies would like.
6 months ago via ESPN

Shoe industry sources told ESPN’s Nick DePaula that there is an internal consensus at Nike that the 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson is a force unlike any the company has seen before and will warrant his own custom-made shoes with added support and reinforcement once he’s a pro. Custom shoes for college players are rare, except in cases of an extreme size or fit situation. For example, Nike made UNC Asheville’s 7-foot-7 center Kenny George 12 custom pairs of a size 26 shoe.
6 months ago via ESPN

With nearly 60 NBA players as clients and a viral online following, thanks in part to his All-Star-laden summer pickup games, New York-based basketball trainer Chris Brickley has blurred the lines of coaching, social media influence, style and hoops culture in recent years. Now, he’s signed an exclusive sneaker deal with Puma, the first-ever multi-year shoe deal of its kind for a basketball trainer, as the brand continues its push back into the NBA landscape. Brickley and Puma will kick off the partnership with a free basketball camp for Charlotte-area kids, as one of many brand events at All-Star Weekend.

Galloway is one of the more well-respected sneakerheads in the NBA. His collection now includes about 1,000 pairs and is split up between his suburban Detroit residence and hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Galloway’s imprint in the sneaker community helped him earn a shoe deal with startup shoe company Q4 almost two years ago. The company provides the silhouettes as a canvas for his creative freedom. The logo is always visible. Every animated concept is generated by Galloway, a suggestion derived from the 10-year-old version of himself that still resides somewhere in his brain. From there, Galloway then relays his ideas to the two people he’s trusted in resurrecting his boyhood, Minnesota artists Salvatore Marcum, 26, known online as “MPLS Customs,” and Andrew Lewis, 32, better known as “ANDR3WTL.” Galloway was introduced to the shoe-based illustrators through hometown friend and WNBA star Seimone Augustus, who has played for the Minnesota Lynx since 2006.

What kind of marketing deals have you had while living and playing in China? JF: I’m with a company called 361 and this is my third year. They’ve created a signature shoe for me every year. Every time they put my shoe out with the Chinese characters that say “Jimo Dashen” they sell out every time. That’s my nickname out here and it means the lonely master. “Jimo” means lonely and it sounds like Jimmer. My teammates told me that it’s a good meaning, like you’re alone at the top of the mountain and no one can reach your level. Like, you’re the best basketball player and it’s a compliment.
9 months ago via ESPN

“Every game since my rookie year, I came in and just always wanted to look nice and always wanted to outdo myself,” said Oubre. “[Style isn’t] about anybody else, it’s about how you feel in what you’re wearing.” For the 22-year-old, whose rookie shoe deal with Adidas expired on Oct. 1, the sneaker free agency process saw him also receive interest and take pitches from Puma and New Balance. Converse, originally founded in 1908 with longtime roots in the NBA, presented a unique twist on the standard shoe deal. “It’s a different vibration when it comes to someone who is trying to reinvent themselves in something that they started,” said Oubre. “It’s not necessarily someone trying to come in and disrupt the game, or someone trying to step onto the scene as newcomers again. [Converse] started this, and it’s cool to be a part of something with the exclusivity to work with this company, start a partnership and a foundation.”

NDP: You weren’t playing of course, but you were doing a sideline interview with the team, and KD’s shoe fell off. What was going through your head, and how natural was that for you to say, “Wouldn’t have happened in the Pumas.” DeMarcus Cousins: It just came off the dome. [laughs] I was just being honest. The day I put my foot in the Pumas, I knew it was different. It’s the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever put on, by far, when it comes to hoops. I haven’t had a problem yet, and I don’t expect to.

NDP: How much of a factor was it that you’d be going from being one of many, to now coming to Puma as a 4-time All-Star and the most accomplished player, giving product input and really making an impact? DeMarcus Cousins: That also played a part in it. Being one of many at one company, and [now] being in a small elite group is a special feeling. That also played a big part in this decision. Basketball separates it from everything else. It’s not 200, 300 players with the brand – it’s a select few. I feel like it’s an elite group, and it’s going to continue to grow from here.

On Monday, the Cincinnati-based prep star announced a partnership with the shoe company New Balance that will pay him at least $1 million — and potentially much more — to be an intern. Warriors forward Kevin Durant offered support for Bazley’s decision Monday night following Golden State’s 123-103 victory over the Phoenix Suns. “It’s cool that he’s going to get some money,” Durant said. “I wonder what he’s going to do on the basketball court. But it’s good that he’s going to make some money while not playing.”

Yet that plan has also been nixed. In May, Bazley signed with the prominent agent Rich Paul, who represents LeBron James, John Wall and Ben Simmons among Klutch Sports’ 18 N.B.A. clients. This week, Paul revealed he has arranged for Bazley to spend the heart of the college basketball season — January, February and March — as an intern at New Balance. The internship, to be precise, is folded into a handsome shoe contract Bazley, 18, has landed with New Balance on the lure of his pro potential. According to Paul, Bazley’s multiyear deal will pay him $1 million “no matter what happens” with his N.B.A. career — and can pay up to $14 million if he reaches all performance incentives. “They hooked me up,” Bazley said.

Currently training in Memphis and living with the Memphis assistant coach Mike Miller — one of James’s favorite former teammates — Bazley is moving to the Boston area in early January to launch his off-court business education. He is expected to spend time with New Balance’s marketing department, digital and social teams, footwear and apparel design arms and the company’s sports laboratory in Lawrence, Mass. New Balance hasn’t marketed basketball shoes since the 1980s, when Worthy was at the height of his success with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bazley is the company’s first signee as part of the relaunch. He was rated No. 26, near the bottom of the first round, in ESPN’s most recent mock draft Aug. 29.

Orlando Magic rookie center Mo Bamba has officially signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Under Armour. The news comes a few days after Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid inked his deal with the Maryland-based sportswear company. The 7′ 10″ Bamba was selected sixth overall in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Magic after playing one season at the University of Texas. Over the summer, the center also gained more viral fame for being the namesake of fellow Harlem native Sheck Wes’ summer anthem “Mo Bamba.” “I’m now in a position to blaze my own trail,” Bamba said in a press release.

The emotional toll is obvious, but Kanter’s sacrifice is evident elsewhere. He can’t leave North America and hasn’t been able to secure any endorsement deals. Nike, the same company that championed Colin Kaepernick’s controversial remonstration by putting him on the frontlines of a recent ad campaign, now refuses to sign Kanter. “I talked to Nike and they said ‘we want to give Enes a contract. We’re watching him. But if we give him a contract they will shut down every store in Turkey, so we cannot give him a contract,’” he says. “I’m an NBA player with no shoe deal. No endorsement deal. And I play in New York!”

Resell platform GOAT has partnered with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma for a first-of-its-kind endorsement. Making the most of the NBA’s lifted sneaker restrictions, GOAT plans to outfit Kuzma in rare Nike shoes both on and off the court throughout the year. Teaser shots include Virgil Abloh’s Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 “MoMA” and the “Crown Jewel” LeBron 10. “GOAT has inspired me to start collecting more seriously and build my style around sneakers,” Kuzma said in a press release. “People assume that, as an NBA athlete, you can get access to any kind of sneaker you want. When in reality, it’s hard to get the exclusive releases or shoes from the past, and feel confident they’re authentic. GOAT gives me a second chance at not only the limited releases I missed, but also the shoes I wasn’t able to afford growing up.”

His prior brand, Adidas, had up to 10 business days to exercise its standard “match clause” rights on the Under Armour offer sheet, but the company moved quickly and had notified Embiid and his CAA representatives by the following morning that it would be declining to match. The 24-year-old was also heavily courted by Puma and New Balance over the past month, but he keyed in on Under Armour as being his preferred destination early in the process. After averaging 23 points and nine rebounds per game during his second season for a rising 76ers team that finished third in the Eastern Conference, Embiid emerged as the most sought after sneaker free agent of the fall.

For those on the outside looking in, Lillard’s kicks may not appear to be a big deal but for Utah Jazz rising star Donovan Mitchell they signify a place he’s looking to get in his career. “If that ever happens, it would be a blessing,” Mitchell told the Deseret News. “I would be really excited for that to happen. Like I said, every kid kind of dreams of those things. For that, I would be really blessed but I guess I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but that would be awesome.”

But for now, Mitchell is being marketed in ads and promotions among the next wave of Adidas athletes to wear the Pro Bounce and Mad Bounce models this season. He could break out up to 10 player exclusive — or PE — colorways throughout his sophomore campaign, according to a Deseret News source, such as his sunshine yellow versions, the Louisville-themed red edition plus the Jazz’s yellow, navy, green and white ones that he’s already sported throughout preseason, but there’s more to come. “I won’t give you too much, but some other things for sure,” Mitchell said, smiling.

“But then the second year, it got a little tighter on the scouting report, they was trying to take me out now,” he continued. “The top players they know I’m their competition so now it’s not ‘Lil Bro’ no more, they’re coming for you and you’re more of a priority. “That changes and then you deal with that and then you see how you’ll handle it then after that they’ll say, ‘OK, we’re dealing with something real’ and the fans they learn to appreciate and respect it and then maybe a shoe company says ‘he can sell a shoe. He has the personality to sell a shoe,’” Lillard explained. “It’s a lot of things that goes into being a signature athlete. So, it’s one thing to be one of the best players and then for a company to say, ‘alright we want to give you a signature shoe’ and ‘we believe you can sell a shoe.’ That’s completely different so it’ll be interesting to see that process for him.”

One reserve player who has a deal with Nike revealed that he gets free shoes and he’s also given a $20,000 allowance that he can use to shop online. He can buy anything on the website with that money, even shoes and clothes for women and children, so his friends and family can use it too. The deals vary depending on the player. “It is tougher with lesser-known players,” another agent confirmed. “However, you can find local deals for a lesser-known player, even if they have trouble getting national deals. There are always exceptions too. There are a few factors that can help. For example, what does the guy’s social media look like? Maybe he’ll have a big following from his time in college, which can really help. I think it just depends. You can get endorsement deals for lesser-known players, but I do agree that the national deals are typically reserved for All-Stars and high-profile rookies who are just entering the league.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
August 23, 2019 | 5:11 am EDT Update
As he spoke and the speaker above cut in and out, Gilgeous-Alexander balanced between a player who knows he belongs and one who understands he has plenty to learn. “I am not Russell Westbrook,” Gilgeous-Alexander said with no malice. “I do not have the same name, same body type, stuff like that. So, I’m just going to try to be myself and be the best me and everything else will take care of itself. “I’m just a basketball player. Regardless of the situation, I’m going to continue to work hard and play my game. I know that eventually it will come out. I don’t worry about starting. I’m not worried about accolades or things like that. I just work hard, keep my head down and (stay) true to who I am.”
“We have a bunch of guys who don’t mind being the underdogs,” Walker told reporters. “We are hungry, and we are going to go out there to try and win a gold medal…I take pride in being a leader and guys looking to me and I’m here to set the tempo and bring my experience and energy.” Walker is arguably the best player on the team, so it’s no surprise that he’s a captain. Mitchell being named a captain isn’t a shock either, when you consider how he came in as a rookie and showed tremendous ability as a leader with the Jazz and has continued to build off that success.
Storyline: World Cup
Germany will play against Tunisia and Japan in Saitama near Tokyo on August 23rd and 24th respectively. On August 26, the squad will head to Shenzhen, China where the World Cup group phase will be played. The 13 players currently in Japan for the German NT are: Dennis Schroder, Maodo Lo, Ismet Akpinar, Isaac Bonga, Andreas Obst, Robin Benzing, Paul Zipser, Niels Giffey, Johannes Thiemann, Danilo Barthell, Maximilian Kleber, Daniel Theis, Johannes Voigtmann.
What’s your next move? Brett Yormark: I’m not going to announce it yet. I knew there was going to be an end to one chapter and the beginning of another. Ownership effectively told me last spring that (selling the majority share to Joe Tsai) was something they were contemplating. I extended my deal through December to provide oversight of the transaction. There was always a plan to leave with ownership. I’ve become very close to Mikhail Prokhorov and (board chairman) Dmitry Razumov. It would have been very tough for me to leave the company, knowing that ownership was going to stay on board. My goal is to announce where I’m heading in mid-September, assuming everything works out. I’m going to stay in sports and entertainment and look forward to build something and create value. It’s no different than what I did at NASCAR and BSE.