Take a look at the NBA players that have signature shoes today and it’s clear that being a signature athlete requires the perfect alignment of skill, charisma, sheer location of employment, and a few other things that make a human into a superstar. LeBron, Kobe, Melo, CP3, Wade, and D-Rose all play in major markets where the opportunity for extensive media coverage is all but guaranteed, with Kevin Durant being the one industry anomaly of being a highly successful signature athlete playing in a small-market city; this seems like a healthy list that should hold us down for a few years, but being content only means one thing – there is room for more.
The landscape of sneaker brands is unique in that some of these labels have become flexible with who they choose to represent their brands on that “face of the brand” tier. Take up-and-coming Under Armour for example; their lone signature athlete is Brandon Jennings, but with DeAndre Jordan playing in a huge market and his insane dunk placing some added spice to his shoes, the neophytic UA label has experienced some added exposure as the prime “indie” brand. While the responsbility that comes with being a signature athlete is something that can be compromised, Nike, Jordan Brand, adidas, Li-Ning, and Under Armour – the major brands in the basketball category – all have the room to fit in a new guy on the team.
But is it even time to welcome a new name to the sneaker industry? There’s no doubt that player names play a large part in shaping consumer tendencies, and with Kobe Bryant nearing retirement every passing year, LeBron well on his way to signature shoe history for Nike, KD well-ingrained in the Nike’s historical fibers, and D-Rose sitting prettily with a life-time contract, it’s a ripe-enough time for a fresh name to be thrown into the mix. Each brand across the board has a select group of athletes to represent their non-signature models, but is anyone ready to step up? We’ve narrowed down a list of the top candidates that may be worthy of sig-shoe distinction, so check out our list below and chime in with your opinions on this latest installment of What Do You Think?.
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