Top NBA project candidate Marvin Bagley III has signed a five-year contract with Puma for shoes and apparel, as ESPN confirmed on Thursday with multiple sources.  As part of a plan to aggressively revitalize his basketball shoe business, Bagley was expected to be a featured athlete in several upcoming category and brand international initiatives.
News of an upcoming contract was first by The Athletic [berichtet]
Unlike most established basketball brands that want to get into the competitive and Nike-dominated shoe landscape, Puma has one long-standing global infrastructure of marketing and design resources that will be invaluable in building a basketball business. The brand has more than 600 stores worldwide and reaches more than 40 retail stores.
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Puma also plans to sign additional rookies in the 2018 draft before focusing on the signing of several established players whose existing shoe stores expire in the fall. The brand has enjoyed success and a resurgence in the market thanks to partnerships with entertainment mogul Jay-Z, pop star Rihanna and several other endorsers in the lifestyle category.
The company's best-known sports spokesperson in North America was golfer Rickie Fowler, a fan favorite whose orange has adorned the galleries but still needs to win a major championship.
Puma also signed Manchester United footballer and Belgian international Romelu Lukaku on Thursday for a multi-year deal calling ESPN the biggest sponsorship deal in the company's history
It's the first NBA shoe deal for the brand since Puma had signed the high-flyer Vince Carter two decades ago after the 1998 NBA draft. Carter's 10-year contract of $ 50 million was short lived as the two sides parted in the middle of his second season.
For Bagley, the deal in industrial circles is more of a surprise connection with Nike during his high school and college careers because of his closeness. Nike sponsored his father's summer basketball team in Bagley's younger career. The team was originally christened "PHX Phamily" and later renamed "NIKE Phamily".
Bagley was against senior pros of Nike-sponsored Drew League last summer in Los Angeles before becoming a star at Nike-sponsored Duke during his lonely college season, where he averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds.
As part of its new support deal with Puma, the brand also becomes a grassroots infrastructure with the Bagley family, focusing on skill development for a future generation of AAU players.
Bagley is currently predicted by ESPN scouting analysts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz as the fifth-best candidate in the 2018 NBA design class.
ESPN's Darren Rovell has contributed to this report.