Pro basketball prospect Ja Morant is now part of the Nike family.
Ahead of the 2019 NBA Draft, the 19-year-old — who is projected by hoops analysts to go No. 2 overall — announced he has signed a shoe deal with Nike.
“All my life, my parents worked for a check. Now I’m proud to say I work for the check. #Nike#NikeBasketball,” Morant wrote on Instagram.
The guard played college ball at Murray State last year. Those in the know believe he will be drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, who landed the No. 2 pick at the NBA Draft Lottery on May 14. In addition to his contract with the Swoosh, Morant is expected to earn nearly $40 million through his rookie deal if he goes to Memphis, according to ESPN.
While basketball followers think Morant will go No. 2, Zion Williamson is predicted to be the No. 1 pick. The Duke star — who made national headlines in February when his Nike sneaker fell apart during a big game against rival North Carolina — has yet to sign with a brand. He’s worn shoes and apparel from various brands over the years, including Nike, Adidas and Under Armour.
Both the No. 1 and No. 2 pick holders — the New Orleans Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies, respectively — are smaller-market teams. Analysts say this could hurt Williamson or Morant’s chances of picking up additional sponsorship deals.
“For the kids’ sake financially, you hope he doesn’t go to the Pelicans or even the Memphis Grizzlies because there is not an inbred society in those cities that are going to add on to the endorsements. You could go to N.Y. and get 10 endorsements with major money from business within the city of N.Y. There is no money in Louisiana to go out and buy a billboard for Zion or any other person,” famed sports marketing exec Sonny Vaccaro told FN.
Below, watch FN’s video with Under Armour-signed NBA superstar Stephen Curry.
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