PUMA has announced they are relaunching their basketball division with JAY-Z as the president of operations. The German design company also signed top NBA prospects Deandre Ayton, Zhaire Smith and Marvin Bagley to be the faces of PUMA Basketball, according to Complex magazine.
The worst kept secret: Puma is back in basketball. Company signing their first endorser Walt Clyde Frazier to a lifetime deal. Releasing 73 limited editions pairs at place on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn today. New handle is @PUMAHoops. pic.twitter.com/fmbgi5B0M0
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 18, 2018
“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,” Adam Petrick, PUMA’s global director of brand and marketing, told Complex. Petrick also shared that the Brooklyn native felt the opportunity “was something he wanted to be a part of,” when he was approached about the position.
The publication reports the rap mogul’s job description will include design input, athlete relationships and “overall concept and direction of the brand.”
Petrick says what’s relevant to JAY-Z, “is that it’s clear we’re making a serious push with players like Bagley and Ayton and Smith.”
He continued: “We’re making a serious statement about the entry of the category that we want to be a performance brand, but then also very culturally focused. 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.”
After the June 2017 release of Hov’s 13th studio album, 4:44, there was speculation of a deal with PUMA. In July of last year, custom sneakers commemorating the project hit the internet furthering rumors of a potential partnership.
This will not be the first time JAY-Z has worked with a sneaker company. He released the S. Carter sneaker with Reebok in the early 2000’s.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.