Marvin Bagley III — who is expected to go early in next week’s NBA draft — signed an endorsement deal with Puma, according to an ESPN report.
This marks Puma’s first venture into the NBA shoe game in 20 years and is part of the brand’s plans to rebuild its basketball footwear business, ESPN said. The last NBA star to sign with the soccer-focused company was high-flyer Vince Carter in 1998, who parted ways with Puma in the middle of his second season.
The deal comes as a surprise to some, who expected Bagley to sign with Nike, the brand that had sponsored Duke, the college team he played on last year, as well as his AAU team. The Swoosh remains the biggest seller of basketball sneakers and has many of the NBA’s top stars on its roster, including LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Bagley signed a five-year deal valued between $2-3 million a year, according to The Athletic.
While Puma has no current NBA players in its roster, the sportswear giant counts among its ambassadors a number of high-profile celebrities, including The Weeknd, Selena Gomez and Rihanna. The brand has upwards of 600 stores in more than 40 countries.
After a stellar season at Duke — where he averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds per game — Bagley is projected to be drafted in the top five.
While Bagley is a big get for the brand, ESPN also reported that Puma is hoping to sign more NBA rookies to endorsement deals.
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