Nike’s basketball roster has some new blood, and it comes as no surprise that the athletic giant has inked a sponsorship deal with Karl-Anthony Towns, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft in June.
Towns, who played for one season at the University of Kentucky, was selected in the first round of the draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. In his short college career, the 19-year-old averaged 10.3 points per game and 6.7 rebounds.
In an announcement from Nike, Towns said of his pro plans, “For me, the biggest thing is going to be making the playoffs with Minnesota after an 11-year drought. If I was blessed to be able to take them to the playoffs, that would be a big step in my career.”
The choice of Nike is a no-brainer for Towns, who now joins a family that includes NBA one-namers like Kobe and LeBron. Plus, Towns is a bonafide fan of the brand — he was seen wearing Nike Zoom Hyperfuse sneakers in this game against Wisconsin during the NCAA Final Four.
In addition to signing Towns, Nike also inked a sponsorship deal this week with No. 2 draft pick D’Angelo Russell, who previously played for Ohio State University and was selected to join the L.A. Lakers.
The company said more basketball sponsorships will be announced in the coming weeks.
For Nike, this news serves as a nice PR boost in a week where the athletic brand could potentially lose NBA All Star James Harden to Adidas. According to reports, the Beaverton, Ore.-company has until next week to make a counter offer to keep the Houston Rockets guard.