If the NBA didn’t shut down the league, we should be less than a month from the 2020 NBA Draft consisting of various young talents. Lamelo Ball the youngest of the Ball brothers is expected to be a top 3 pick in the NBA draft. With the expectations of him as a player growing, more people are getting curious on what shoe company will manage to acquire the 18 year old point guard.
Just a year ago, everyone would have expected Lamelo to be wearing the MB1s by BBB on the NBA stage. It was the sudden collapse of BBB which sparked the debate of where Lamelo should sign. There has been leaks claiming that Lamelo was offered a $100 million deal with access to a private jet. However, there hasn’t been any actual development in terms of sneaker deals.
This article narrowed down the companies that have a good chance in signing Lamelo to Nike, Adidas and Puma. These 3 brands were successful at signing high draft picks in recent years. While Chinese companies are getting bigger and a more attractive option, it still remains as a destination that NBA veteran players prefer rather than young rookies.
Nike and Jordan have been put together due to how interconnected the two brand are in terms of business. It is certain that Nike, Inc will offer Lamelo a endorsement deal. However, it is unlikely Lamelo will sign as a Nike athlete since he will have to wait for his time to get a signature shoe. Nike has the most signature athletes in the NBA with Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, Paul George and Giannis Antetokumpo all having signature shoes. There is doubt that Nike will be able to offer him a signature shoe deal when they already have their hands full with 5 active signature players.
Instead of signing Lamelo under the Nike brand, it may be a better option to sign him under Jordan Brand like Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic. Currently Jordan Brand is making moves to replace their current line of signature athletes. Both Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul are past their prime and has lost the popularity and Russell Westbrook’s prime is soon to end. So, Jordan Brand has been signing young talent whom may have the potential to become superstars. Signing Lamelo Ball makes sense as he is suppose to be the best out of the three Ball brothers and he has huge potential as a player. Also, he is one of the most hyped players ever since he was 15 years old so he is a huge marketing opportunity for Jordan brand.
In terms of reputation, Jordan brand is a prestigious company signing the best of the best. The resources the company can provide in terms of technology in shoes to marketing campaigns will be highly attractive and can be a factor to Lamelo signing with Jordan.
However, with players like Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic and Zion Williamson signed under the Brand, there is a chance that Lamelo will have to compete with the players that are arguably going to be the face of the league in a few years. Having talented players under the brand can result in Lamelo getting less attention from the brand which will prevent his chances of developing his own brand. The already young talented roster of players Jordan brand signed may act as a downside when Lamelo is looking to sign with a brand.
Adidas is the second attractive brand that may land Lamelo Ball. Adidas has the second most active signature shoe players out of the four brands with James Harden, Donovan Mitchell, Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose. However, the players fall short of star power compared to their rivals, Nike. Although they have one-time MVP, James Harden, there is no young players that Adidas has signed that will be able to fill Harden’s role at Adidas after he is past his prime apart from Trae Young. Lamelo is a player that is good enough and marketable enough to fill in for James Harden in the future. Due to lower competition between the signature players within the brand, Lamelo is likely to be given a bigger role at Adidas compared to Jordan.
Puma has been a company to watch as they’ve been successful at signing multiple top draft picks in recent years. They have been successful at signing players like RJ Barrett, Deandre Ayton and Micheal Porter Jr. As a brand that has revived their basketball division lately, they are yet to release a signature shoe. The brand seemed to push Kyle Kuzma as their star, however, his recent struggles with the Lakers seemed to have put a halt in their campaign. Signing Lamelo will allow the brand to have a signature player that can represent the brand and increase its popularity.
If he does become a signature athlete for the brand, he will receive full attention from the brand. He may be able to have the same success as players like Stephen Curry with Under Armour and Kawhi Leonard with New Balance. Being the sole player of a brand means that Puma as a brand can represent Lamelo Ball. This opens up Lamelo to more opportunities as a player.
Although Adidas and Puma has strong cases to sign Lamelo, I personally think Jordan will come up on top to sign Lamelo. When looking at the shoes he wore on court through out his career, Lamelo seem to have had a strong preference for Nike shoes. Looking at his off court fashion choice, you see him wearing more Nike shoes rather than Adidas or Puma. Jordan brands reputation is also a strong factor as Zion Williamson signed with Jordan despite being offered a better deal from another brand. The reputation Jordan brand has can be another factor to why Lamelo will sign with Jordan brand.