Nike CEO Mark Parker announced that the company will release a new signature Jordan Brand shoe for Russell Westbrook in 2018, as well as expand its promotion of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“In the next several weeks alone, we’ll deliver the next version of the industry’s biggest signature shoe with the Kyrie 4,” Parker said during an earnings call. “We’ll build on the incredible first year of Paul George’s signature shoe with the PG2. We’ll introduce an all-new Flyknit construction with Kobe’s next performance design. And Jordan Brand will launch its first signature shoe with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook. We’re also thrilled to expand our relationship with Giannis Antetokounmpo as we bring his unique personality to life through new signature product and storytelling next year.”
After a breakthrough 2016-17 season for the 23-year-old, Antetokounmpo was wooed by a slew of athleticwear companies, including Nike rival Adidas. Ultimately, the Milwaukee Buck signed to a long–term deal with Nike in early November, and a signature shoe was rumored to be in the works upon his signing.
As for Westbrook — named NBA Most Valuable Player last season — his signature shoe comes on the heels of a 10-year extension with Jordan Brand, which reportedly was the “most lucrative total endorsement deal for a Jordan athlete to date.” A signature Westbrook style would likely mark the end of the Oklahoma City Thunder star’s run as Air Jordan’s lead ambassador.
Reports have shown that the basketball sneaker market is struggling, but adding additional shoe styles from two popular athletes could help spur growth in the market and generate sales.