Father LaVar Ball’s push for a co-branded partnership with a major brand has stifled what would have been a highly competitive market for Lonzo, an industry source told The Vertical. But the game isn’t over yet.
With an emphasis on developing skills and teaching how basketball can translate to life, the former Lakers star is focusing on improving young lives with a unique basketball league.
The Clippers star worked with 11-year-old Justice Griffith, a patient at the hospital, to design a unique edition of Griffin's Jordan Super.Fly 5 sneaker.
Jeremy Lin’s personalized edition of his adidas Crazylight Boosts. While “Linsanity” was long ago, Jeremy Lin has continued to steadily improve and establish himself as a starting point in his seventh season. With a legion of fans globally that has followed his journey, Lin has extended that six-week splash in 2012 into a lengthy career, strategically building a measured global brand.
The backyard battles, as they’ve affectionately become known, weren’t just a test of 1-on-1 skill between Stephen and Seth Curry as they were growing up in the Charlotte, N.C., area. Household bragging rights were on the line, and more importantly, the winner got front-seat privileges to ride “shotgun” in Dell Curry’s mid-’90s black Mercedes Benz for the trio’s drive to their father’s Hornets home games. “Our favorite thing to do as kids was get home from school as early as we could to ride to the game with Dad,” Seth Curry told The Vertical Podcast with Woj.
James Harden has always had his own style. After James Harden signed his 13-year endorsement deal with adidas at the start of the 2015 NBA season – making him their highest-paid athlete in the sport – the ball got rolling on creating his signature series of sneakers and apparel. With Harden’s off-the-court style highlighted by ambitious clothes, loud prints and his trademark beard, there was an expectation for funky, quirky and unique looks.
For years players have honored past heroes and highlighted current initiatives and ongoing causes during Black History Month. Players often debut special-edition sneakers with a themed colorway in late January on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and wear them throughout the honorary month of February. Here’s a look at what some of the NBA’s biggest stars are doing with their sneakers for Black History Month.
If the seven-year, $90 million endorsement contract weren’t a good enough hint, the initial name of LeBron James’ first Nike sneaker – 2003’s Air Zoom Generation – was at its core a declaration. “We think he’s the athlete that will define the next generation,” a Nike spokesman said more than 13 years ago. Throughout James’ career there’s been a discussion at Nike of when the brand would re-issue some of his earliest signature shoes.
As President Barack Obama’s term in office comes to a close, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been honoring his friendship with the 44th president. During golf trips to Martha’s Vineyard in the offseason or low-intensity games of Connect Four at the White House, the two have enjoyed getting to know each other and their families over the course of Obama’s two terms. “It still doesn’t make any sense,” Curry told The Vertical after their first golf trip.
As Damian Lillard has continued to progress through his NBA career, there’ve been several constants along the way. This past offseason, Lillard became the latest NBA player to pursue music, releasing a full studio album under the name “The Letter O.” As Lillard explains, the music, a step-by-step retelling of his life story sans any cursing, has helped shape his newest adidas signature shoe. “With this being my third shoe, [the Dame 3 is] all about appreciation for the people that went out of their way so I’d be able to hoop growing up,” Lillard said.
When nearly 11 million viewers tuned in for Sunday’s rematch of the 2016 NBA Finals, it was clear that the focus was on the playoff-like intensity and the blooming rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In past years, brands have looked to steal the spotlight during the Christmas Day schedule by launching new uniform designs and silhouettes, along with “disruptive” sneakers meant to clash and stand apart from team colors. Beginning in 2010, Nike built a full color story around Kobe Bryant’s Lakers facing the LeBron James-led Heat, outfitting every player on the court in neon green or bright red sneakers that were unmistakable on television.
Stephen Curry’s customized pregame shoes. Ever since college, Stephen Curry has been writing personal phrases and messages on the sides of his sneakers. Just before taking the court during the past decade, he would often write his favorite scriptures and “WSC” for the name – Wardell Stephen Curry – he shares with his father.
Gary Payton played 17 seasons in the NBA. Throughout his Hall of Fame career, Gary Payton made a name for himself as one of the game’s biggest and boldest trash talkers. As the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on the framework of a new seven-year Collective Bargaining Agreement on Wednesday, Payton is once again quick to talk – except now he is praising the current era of players for their efforts to provide extensive health care and accelerated pension payments to retired players.
Right from the start, Nike had grand plans for LeBron James’ signature shoe series. It wasn’t just that he was the first player since Michael Jordan to have his own namesake Nike sneaker for opening night of his rookie season, or that the brand signed him to a seven-year, $90 million deal. It wasn’t until the final years of Jordan’s career that he had secondary sneakers – “team shoes” – hit retail, yet Nike accelerated that strategy for James.
Allen Iverson’s basketball career hit its apex when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September. As one of the most culturally relevant players in league history, Reebok is still looking to celebrate the legacy of the No. 1 overall selection in the 1996 draft. The sneaker is the best-selling basketball shoe in Reebok history, and in honor of its 20th anniversary, the brand is re-releasing 20 versions throughout the year.
Steph Curry is using last season as motivation. For footwear brands, every new NBA season brings with it sneaker launches, new commercials and fresh stories to tell. In Stephen Curry’s case, that meant a drastically different story took shape from April through July, just as his new Under Armour sneaker commercial was set to be shot in early August.
Kristaps Porzingis is officially an adidas man. Kristaps Porzingis’ seven-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal with adidas is official, making him the highest-paid European sneaker endorser in NBA history. The deal, negotiated by agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports, pays the New York Knicks power forward between $3 million and $6 million annually.