Sources: Signature Shoe Key Component Of Antetokounmpo Re-Signing With Nike
Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo yesterday via social media announced that he has re-signed with Nike, and a "key component of the new Nike deal for Antetokounmpo ... is that it also includes the creation of a signature shoe," according to sources cited by DePaula & Rovell of ESPN.com. Terms of the deal were "not immediately available." Nike is "looking to begin" the signature shoe process "over the coming weeks and again in person" at Nike HQ when the Bucks play at the Trail Blazers on Nov. 30. Sources said that it is "likely the soonest a 'Giannis 1' sneaker would release would be during the fall or holiday seasons" of '19. After his initial four-year Nike sneaker deal expired Oct. 1, Antetokounmpo was a "key target of competing brands like Adidas and Chinese footwear company Li-Ning." Sources said that both companies "made aggressive pitches." But it is "not a surprise that Nike committed to keeping Antetokounmpo on its roster, as last fall, it declined to exercise its 'match clause'" and let Knicks F Kristaps Porzingis sign with Adidas. Both players now have the "largest basketball shoe deals ever given to European players" (ESPN.com, 11/7). In Milwaukee, James Nelson writes Antetokounmpo's new sneaker deal could be "especially lucrative for Nike given the international attention" he has received (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/8).
HIS OWN MAN: ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz wrote Antetokounmpo "plans to craft a superstar persona that's decidedly less social, less entrepreneurial and more introverted than the prevailing trends of the LeBron era." Though Antetokounmpo is "starting to realize that his exceptional talent makes him a marketable product, his inclinations as a professional thus far bear little resemblance to LeBron Inc." Antetokounmpo will "almost certainly be on a first-name basis with the public" -- but there are "few entrepreneurial ambitions." At a recent round of meetings with leading shoe companies, reps "pitched Antetokounmpo by citing their campaigns and brand-building for other NBA stars." Sources said that Antetokounmpo "found the approach perplexing." These stars were his competitors, and the "notion of using their brands or personas as a template seemed backward." Antetokounmpo could "transform into a brand of superstar far different than the projections." But it is also "possible that 'Giannis' never grows into the household name 'LeBron,' 'Steph,' or 'Kobe' became" (ESPN.com, 11/7).