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Volume 23 No. 23
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Sneaker companies will vie to offer perfect fit for Zion

What impact with the failure of Zion Williamson's Nike shoe have on a future sneaker deal?
Photo: getty images
What impact with the failure of Zion Williamson's Nike shoe have on a future sneaker deal?
Photo: getty images
What impact with the failure of Zion Williamson's Nike shoe have on a future sneaker deal?
Photo: getty images

The first test of Zion Williamson’s brand value as a professional — assuming he turns pro after the season — will come in talks for a sneaker deal.

 

The nearly endless replays of Williamson’s left foot ripping through a Nike shoe last month will certainly create market pressure on the brand to sign Williamson, who wore Adidas in high school. If Williamson signs with a brand other than Nike, the perception will be that he didn’t trust the shoe, marketing experts say. 

That factor, along with what could be a hypercompetitive bidding war between the big three of Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, as well as possibly New Balance and Puma, could produce millions in income for Williamson before he even plays a game in the NBA.

“At a large basketball brand like Nike, he will be part of the brand family, but he wouldn’t necessarily outshine their biggest stars,” said Chris Grancio, the former global general manager for Adidas basketball and now CMO for Independent Sports & Entertainment. “More recent entrants to the sneaker game, like New Balance or Puma, would make him the centerpiece of their basketball strategy, and maybe even the entire brand.”