The last time Puma was relevant in the NBA, Vince Carter was a fast-rising (literally) sophomore in the NBA. He rocked the Puma Cell Mids in his second year in the league and brought some buzz to the brand with his high-flying style.
Twenty years later, another Mr. Carter is leading the revival of Puma in the basketball scene.
Earlier today, Puma’s director for brand and marketing, Adam Petrick announced to Complex that Jay-Z is joining the brand as creative consultant.
“We’ve been working with Roc Nation for quite some time. They’ve been great partners to us for several years. We’ve done many different deals with many different ambassadors.”
That’s why when the plan to revive Puma in basketball was presented to Jay-Z, he jumped on board. His role will be to bring direction to the design and the conceptualization of the brand. Jay-Z brings with him an understanding of the culture of basketball outside the court. His lifestyle and music is an integral part in building the brand according to Petrick.
“It’s clear that we’re looking at basketball through the lens of culture, and thinking about the fashion of basketball, the music of basketball, all the aspects of culture around basketball as much as the on court presence that we will have.”
In terms of on-court presence, Puma will be powered by two of the best big men prospects in this year’s draft.
Late last week, The Athletic’s John Krawczynski reported that Marvin Bagley III, a projected top five pick, will be joining Puma on a five-year deal.
Marvin Bagley, projected to be one of the top picks in the NBA draft next week, is going to sign a five-year deal with Puma that is expected to be the largest rookie shoe deal since Kevin Durant, sources tell @TheAthletic
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) June 14, 2018
That announcement kickstarted Puma’s return to Basketball. It showed that they were serious contenders for young talent by giving the former Duke star a contract bigger than Kevin Durant’s rookie deal with Nike.
But Puma wasn’t done. They landed an even bigger catch today.
DeAndre Ayton, the projected top pick in this year’s draft tweeted out a photo of him rocking Puma gear outside an event for the brand. This was how the world found out that Ayton will be joining Puma as their newest endorser.
— Deandre Ayton (@DeandreAyton) June 18, 2018
ESPN’s Nick De Paula reported that Puma has signed the Arizona big man to a four-year multi-million dollar deal.
Ayton is looking to make a big splash in the sneaker game. And Puma was willing to grow with him in that regard as he told Bleacher Report’s Master Tesfastion.
I don’t want to be under nobody else. If I’m over here trying to bring on my shoe, and you’ve got somebody like LeBron [James] out here, you got the [Kevin Durants] out there, I’m not trying to be really competing with those guys like that. It’s always good to start your own thing and try to be great in it.
Also part of Puma’s growing list of basketball endorsers is Zhaire Smith from Texas tech, another projected lottery pick this year.
Rising 1st round Draft prospect Zhaire Smith has agreed to a multi-year footwear & apparel deal with PUMA.
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) June 17, 2018
The brand isn’t done recruiting young guns. They’re reportedly trying to sign Oklahoma guard Trae Young, another top pick in this year’s draft.
It looks like Puma’s finally ready to pounce in the basketball scene once again.
Photo from Getty Images