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We no longer have to wait to see where Zion Williamson will sign. The New Orleans Pelicans number one overall pick made a decision on which shoe company he’ll be with for the 2019 season.
Earlier today, Williamson announced he would sign with Nike’s Jordan brand. Every brand that produces basketball shows wanted him on their team, but Michael Jordan and his team found a way to sign the rookie. There are reports that the deal could be worth $100 million.
This was the best move that Williamson could make. My guess is that this will turn out to be a situation similar to LeBron James’ signing as a rookie. We’ll learn that other brands offered Zion more money, but he chose Jordan brand. It makes sense to sign with them over any other brand right now.
First and foremost, Jordan brand isn’t going away anytime soon. As long as Michael Jordan is alive (and even after that), Jordan’s continue to be the most iconic shoes in basketball. Until Zion gets his own signature shoe, he can wear nearly any model from retros to Russell Westbrook’s signature line. Once he gets his signature shoe, it will skyrocket sales for the brand. Right now, Westbrook is the only current athlete with a signature shoe with Jordan brand. They were in need of another star, and they got a big one. It’s great for both sides, and it offers the most upside for the rookie.
He could have signed with Nike, but his signature line would compete too much within the brand. Guys like LeBron, Paul George, Kevin Durant an Kyrie Irving already have established signature lines with Nike, so that didn’t make sense. Adidas has multiple signature lines, and Zion could have been the most popular. However, there’s more competition and there’s less of a trendsetting appeal.
Under Armour appears set on running with Steph Curry as their own signature athlete, and has yet to prove they can be a major player in the NBA. Puma might be just a fad and die out soon, and they haven’t shown that they’re ready for a signature athlete yet. Overseas brands like Li-Ning and Anta may have competed for Zion, but also already have signature athletes.
Jordan Zion signature
What should we expect from a Zion signature shoe? First, we can expect a sturdy shoe. After he was injured playing in a pair of Paul George shoes (that blew out), Nike flew experts to Duke to work with Zion. Smart move on Nike’s part to show Zion how things will work early before other brands could talk to him.
With the amount of force he generates with every step, the shoe needs to support a freak athlete. In terms of cut, we won’t know. Zion’s played in nearly every cut from low to high, but if we had to guess we’d say a mid cut shoe. In terms of cushioning, look to LeBron’s line for answers. Double stacked Zoom could be an option with the force Zion produces. When you’re dealing with a player who only really compares to LeBron in terms of athletic ability relative to size, you have to utilize the obvious. Hopefully, the price point won’t be through the roof.
Zion Williamson continues to make splashes before he plays in his first official game in the NBA. His signing with Jordan brand makes the most sense for him, and helps the brand even more. Whether it’s on the court or off the court, his sneaker collection will be versatile and influential. It’s only a matter of time before we see leaked pictures of the Jordan ZW 1, and we can’t wait.