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Volume 26 No. 174
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Puma Signs Knicks Rookie RJ Barrett To Multiyear Endorsement

Knicks F RJ Barrett has signed a "multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Puma," according to Nick DePaula of ESPN.com. Barrett during his lone year at Duke "emerged as a top target for the brand, with executives strongly believing that he'll become the best player from his draft class." Puma also was "drawn to the appeal of the New York marketplace." It was the "first company to present their endorsement offer and future plans to Barrett," who wore Puma shoes both during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and during his "rookie photo shoot just weeks ago." Barrett will be one of just 15 NBA endorsers for Puma, giving him the chance to have "more personalized marketing and attention." That was on display yesterday when Puma formally announced the deal in N.Y. with a mural repurposing the "classic 'I Love NY' slogan ... painted along 31st Street." The sign read "NY ❤ RJ" and later included a "Puma cat logo atop the heart, alongside the 19-year-old's face" (ESPN.com, 8/28).

CAT FANCY: CNBC.com's Lauren Thomas reported Puma today opened a flagship store on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan, a "massive 18,000-square-foot space, spanning two levels." This marks Puma's first brick-and-mortar location in N.Y. and the "first of its kind in North America." The store will feature Puma's "full breadth of assortment including basketball items, golf gear, motorsport merchandise, kids, lifestyle and soccer." Some items will be "only available" at the N.Y. store. There will be a "few interactive elements, including an F1 racing experience" and a TV wall where "shoppers can hang out and play NBA2K" (CNBC.com, 8/28).