Every top NBA pick of this decade has signed a sneaker endorsement contract with Nike or Adidas. Well that’s until DeAndre Ayton, this past years No. 1 pick did not. I’m going to take you through the reasoning on why NBA players are shying away Nike and some other top brands.
“We were dealing with Nike people, Under Armour and all the other shoe companies,” he said soon afterward. “We just thought Puma was the right fit.”
Marvin Bagley III, who was the second pick signed with Puma as well. He said in an email that he chose the company because “they’re willing to do things differently, which is what I like about them.”
New Balance revealed it had signed the much-hyped prospect Darius Bazley to a million-dollar contract. Bazley, is not yet in the NBA. He is interning with the company and training for the draft instead of playing a “one and done” year in college.
“The headline for us when it comes down to why are we getting back into basketball after 20 years is culture culture culture culture culture,” said Adam Petrick, Puma’s global director for brand and marketing.
“The NBA and all the other entertainment mechanisms around it, whether it’s ESPN or Complex magazine, are attuned to creating a 24-hour news cycle around basketball. In our day of mass news media mass consumption, we have the option to benefit from that.” Which in reality we all have to thank Adam Silver for continuously advancing the league. If we look at it from an NFL aspect…. Nothing like this is happening. Not even close.
Mark Bartelstein who is Gordon Hayward’s agent recently announced Hayward signed with the Chinese shoe company Anta. Bartelstein said the companies were battling for a piece of the basketball business because “the money follows what is hot, and the NBA is very hot.”
That doesn’t mean that Under Armour isn’t making any moves. They recently added Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers center, to its roster. He joined other NBA stars like Stephen Curry and Dennis Smith Jr. on the Under Armour payroll.
Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst at NPD Group said basketball shoes are now account for just 4 percent of the shoe market, down from a high of 13 percent few years ago. Performance sneakers — shoes worn for athletic activity — are doing poorly more generally. Consumers, Powell said, are now more interested in looking like athletes than they are in imitating their abilities.
“This is the peak of the athleisure trend,” he said. “They just want to look the part. If you are going after looking the part, you don’t need to spend $150 on a top-end basketball or running shoe.”
“Most people don’t wear performance sneakers for performance,” he said. “So when we’re trying to appeal to our core consumer, it’s not going to be just around the features and benefits of the product, it’s going to be around the brand perception. Being a part of basketball culture means that we’re a part of culture, period.”
Puma announced they’re getting back into basketball in March, the rebirth of a product line that had last been associated with Vince Carter in the 1990s.
New Balance confirmed that it had signed Kawhi Leonard after Leonard denied Nike’s offer.. Chris Davis, a vice president for global and sports marketing at New Balance, would only say that any brand would be lucky to have Leonard.
Davis said New Balance had put together a 12-year plan to become the third-largest athletic brand in the world. It wants to grow from $4.5 billion in revenue to $7 billion by 2023, third place behind Nike and Adidas.
Some brands branch into different products and different sports. And some outdoors. Under Armour is content to stay a performance-first brand, unless its athletes dictate otherwise. Asked about slacking sales for performance shoes, Ron Johnson, the general manager for global basketball at Under Armour said:
“I feel like there’s always going to be headwinds and challenges in various categories, whether it be seasonality or the cyclical nature of trends,” he said.
Last year’s best-selling shoe was Nike’s Tanjun, which is similar to the Nike Free running shoe but costs half as much.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. There is also another company… BBB, Big Baller Brand.. Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball’s shoe. Or should I say his dad LaVar Ball’s shoe. Which costs $500+?
Does the decrease from the actual performance shoe prove that less and less people are interested in playing in sports? I think so. Sports are fun to watch and all, but why would you want to actually run around? Haha. Welcome to the new age.
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