Jalen Suggs secured a multi-year shoes and apparel deal with adidas ahead of his expected selection in the 2021 NBA on Thursday.
“I am so excited to be with the brand,” the former Gonzaga star said. “I grew up inspired by D-Rose and Dame [Lillard] I want to follow in the footsteps of the young adidas family that now stands out as Trae [Young] and without [Mitchell]”.
After a fresh season leading the Nike-sponsored Bulldogs to the NCAA National Championship game, Suggs became one of the most sought-after players in the shoe deal negotiations this spring.
The deal was negotiated by Wasserman, and Suggs and the agency performed a series of seven shows, mostly in-person, some virtual, in Los Angeles to begin the process. Adidas eventually emerged as Suggs’ choice.
In addition to outlining Green product plans in the basketball and lifestyle shoe categories, the brand has pledged to fund a court remodel in his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota, and chart a course for a potential future basketball shoe company.
Adidas currently makes exclusive shoes for James Harden, Derek Rose, Damien Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Tra Young, with each product launching during the company’s second or third player season.
In addition to the Suggs, Adidas has completed endorsement deals with three other players expected to be selected near the top of the draft, signing striker Jalen Green, versatile big man Evan Mobley and point guard Sharife Cooper.
“Everyone brings something unique to our team,” Eric Wise, global general manager of adidas Basketball, said in a statement. “From their talent and work ethic in court, to their 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 division and basketball to work even more closely, as sports culture has continued to blur the lines between performance and lifestyle in recent years.
Another factor that drove players to acquire the brand was the recent hiring of designer Jerry Lorenzo, founder of high-fashion brand Fear of God, to help drive Adidas Basketball’s creative and commercial strategy. Lorenzo has launched coveted basketball shoes with Nike in the past, while crafting the coveted shoe category at 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 they’ve long admired, Suggs looks to the future with Adidas as he begins his NBA career.
“We’re going to create a culture together,” Suggs said. “And if you give me some time, I will pursue greatness like them.”