Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 202
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Lakers' Kuzma Becomes Face Of Puma Basketball In $20M Deal

Lakers F Kyle Kuzma has signed a five-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Puma that is "expected to pay" him more than $20M over the life of the contract, according to sources cited by Nick DePaula of ESPN.com. Additional incentives could also "escalate the total value." Kuzma is now "one of the highest-earning players with Puma and a featured partner with the company." He also will be "featured in brand campaigns and key product-feedback sessions and have creative control over future collections." Billboards and out-of-home murals around L.A. "merged his 'Kuz' nickname icon with the last two typeface letters of the brand's logo, highlighted by the Puma cat affixed atop." Kuzma originally had "signed a two-year shoe deal with Nike as an unheralded rookie" that "paid him a base of just $25,000 per year, which he far outpaced almost instantly." Kuzma's newly hired team at CAA negotiated what is expected to be "one of the highest-earning veteran sneaker deals this fall." Kuzma now will "look to establish himself as a face of the brand" while playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He is already "working behind the scenes on a variety of future basketball and lifestyle sneakers and clothing" (ESPN.com, 10/2).

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: In L.A., Arash Markazi writes Kuzma "became the face of Puma basketball" with this deal. Kuzma has "never been an All-Star but is being treated like one by Puma." He recently "came in at No. 71 in ESPN's ranking" of NBAers. Most players outside of the top 70 "aren't getting shoe deals and their own logo painted on the side of buildings." That "comes with being a key player on a championship-contending Lakers team." This deal "shows the value of that role with a contender" (L.A. TIMES, 10/3).