NBA kicks | What are the latest signature shoes: Lebron, Curry, Durant, Doncic, Westbrook...
Since the Jordan Brand pioneered the industry, there are now a whole bunch of companies in the mix, but who are the stars that wear their footwear?
From the days of Michael Jordan to the present, the signature sneaker trend has since spread to many other sports as well. Join us for a look at those in the league, who currently have their own kicks.
The world of signature sneakers and their athletes
To be approached by a major sneaker company who wants to sponsor you, is not only clear recognition of a player’s skills, but also their marketability. On the other hand, to be approached by a major sneaker company that wants to manufacture your very own signature footwear, that’s something completely different. Quite frankly, it’s next level. At almost $85 billion per year, the sneaker industry is a market that can’t be ignored and to be clear, basketball makes up a major portion of it.
In truth, it could be said that basketball has been both the pioneer and driver of the industry. While there is now signature footwear in other sports today including football, tennis, soccer and even golf, the fact remains basketball was and still is the main driving force behind the lucrative industry. When Michael Jordan signed for a company, primarily known for long distance running shoes in 1984 the target was to sell $3 million in the first four years of the deal. The company was Nike and they sold $126 million in the first year alone. Think about that. With that said, we’re taking a look at the players out there who are the current stars of the market and which companies their signed with. Let’s get into it!
From those early days in the 80s, to the massive company that it’s become, Nike is by far the most dominant force in the sneaker world and to be honest, in sports generally. At present the Portland based organization has five players who have their own signature sneakers and they’re all very much worth it. Off the bat, we’ve got three former MVPs in LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant. Then there is also Paul George and Kyrie Irving, both players who don’t need personal awards to be confirmed in the minds of fans as some of the best players in the league.
It was actually Adidas, back in the day who ruled the roost when it came to the NBA’s athletes. Indeed, it was Michael Jordan’s parents who encouraged him to accept Nike’s offer, over the well-known German brand. While they may play second fiddle to Nike where market share is concerned, make no mistake, they hold a sizeable chunk and with some top-notch athletes as well. Derrick Rose is their longest serving athlete, having signed a 14-year deal back in 2011 following an MVP season. There are, however, other headliners such as James Harden, Damian Lillard and the mercurial Trae Young.
The Jordan Brand
Though it’s a subsidiary of Nike, the Jordan brand has truly become a completely different ball game. Today the company’s flagship brand boasts some of the top talent in the league. From Luka Doncic, who recently unveiled the latest edition of his line, to the Suns’ point guard Chris Paul, the Jordan brand has definitely got some of the league’s best under its banner. There’s also Russell Westbrook and the Duke prodigy himself, Zion Williamson.
A relatively new player in the game, the coup that the brand was able to pull off must be respected. Not only do they have one of the league’s best players in Joel Embiid, but they’ve also got a former MVP and probably the greatest shooter we’ve ever seen, Steph Curry. Indeed, the Warriors talisman recently released his ninth edition, the “Curry 9,” while the “Embiid 2″ dropped this year.
Also, somewhat new to the game, the brand turned heads when they signed the likes of Zach LaVine, Jamal Murray and Jaylen Brown. With that said, they’ve only got one athlete with his very own signature sneaker and that’s Kawhi Leonard. Interestingly, Leonard actually left the Jordan Brand back in 2018 and is now the face of New Balance basketball. To date, he’s got two editions of his footwear on the market.
Having primarily been tied to soccer, Puma has taken an increased interest in the basketball market in recent seasons. To that end, the brand has signed a number of players in the league, however, they seem to have decided on LaMelo Ball as their flagship player. The one-time All-Star allegedly signed a $100 million deal with the company and is due to release the second edition of his sneaker line this coming season, the “MB.02.”