Jalen Suggs has landed a multi-year footwear and apparel deal with Adidas ahead of his anticipated 2021 NBA draft pick on Thursday.
“I’m very excited to be with the brand,” said the former Gonzaga star. “I grew up inspired by D-Rose and Dame [Lillard] and I want to follow in the footsteps of the young Adidas family that is emerging now as Trae [Young] and Don [Mitchell]”.
After a freshman season that led the Nike-sponsored Bulldogs to the national championship game of the NCAA tournament, Suggs became one of the most in-demand players involved in shoe deal negotiations this spring.
The deal was negotiated by Wasserman, and Suggs and the agency held a series of seven presentations, most in person, some virtual, in Los Angeles to begin the process. Adidas eventually emerged as Suggs’ choice.
In addition to outlining product plans for Green in the basketball and lifestyle shoe categories, the brand pledged to fund a court remodel in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and charted a pathway to a basketball shoe. potential firm in the future.
Currently, Adidas makes exclusive footwear for James Harden, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young, with each product launching during the player’s second or third season at the company.
In addition to Suggs, Adidas has finalized endorsement deals with three other players expected to be selected near the top of the draft, signing explosive forward Jalen Green, versatile big man Evan Mobley and scoring point guard Sharife Cooper.
“Each individual brings something unique to our team,” said Eric Wise, Adidas’ global basketball general manager, in a statement. “From their talent and work ethic on the court, to a community-first mindset, values and openness to collaboration, we can’t wait to see where this week takes them.”
Behind the scenes, the brand recently merged its Originals and Basketball departments to work more closely, as sports culture has continued to blur the lines between performance and lifestyle in recent years.
Another factor prompting players to land with the brand has been the recent appointment of designer Jerry Lorenzo, founder of the haute couture brand Fear of God, to help lead Adidas Basketball’s creative and commercial strategy. Lorenzo launched the coveted crossover basketball shoes with Nike in the past, while forging his own coveted footwear category in Fear of God, before signing a long-term partnership with Adidas in late 2020.
With new designers at the helm and a new approach to hybrid marketing, along with existing exclusive athletes he has long admired, Suggs looks to the future with Adidas as he begins his NBA career.
“We will create culture together,” Suggs said. “And if you give me some time, I will pursue greatness like them.”