Nike Inc. held its annual shareholder meeting yesterday in Beaverton, Ore., and Mark Parker was asked if buzzy NBA rookie Zion Williamson — who signed with the Nike-backed Jordan Brand in July — would get a signature shoe. The exec, however, provided an answer that likely left people wanting to ask a follow-up.
The chairman, CEO and president of Nike Inc. didn’t surprise anyone by revealing the shoe Williamson would lace up throughout his rookie campaign.
“He’s going to play this season in the Air Jordan 34, the signature Air Jordan basketball shoe,” Parker said during the meeting. “He loves the product from all the feedback we’ve been getting.”
But whether the baller would ever get a signature look remains unclear.
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“We’re working closely with Zion on new product creation and I’m excited about what’s coming in that area,” Parker said. “No announcements to be made here today, but I think we’re going to see an exciting future with Zion in terms of product creation and the impact that he’s going to have on Jordan basketball and the game of basketball in general.”
Williamson helped Jordan Brand launch the Air Jordan 34 at an event in Harlem, N.Y., on Sept. 7 alongside WNBA stars Asia Durr and Kia Nurse. The sneaker is slated to hit stores on Sept. 25.
Although the former Duke basketball star picked the brand he wanted to align with ahead of the 2019 NBA season, industry insiders believed Williamson made a mistake that could have cost him major money in waiting until after the draft.
“The shoe deal is the easiest thing in the world to do, it should have been done,” famed sports marketing exec Sonny Vaccaro told FN. Prior to the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, Williamson did not sign a deal with a shoe company.
Regardless if Williamson misses out on some money, the Jordan Brand contract ensures he won’t likely have financial problems any time soon. He reportedly signed a seven-year deal worth $75 million, according to a Forbes report in July.