Shai Gilgeous-Alexander signs with Converse a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal, adding the versatile 21-year-old Oklahoma City Thunder star to a group of NBA and WNBA players tasked with relaunching its basketball category.
Gilgeous-Alexander signed with Nike upon turning pro ahead of the 2018 NBA draft, but the 6-foot-5 combo guard will begin wearing Converse once the Thunder resume practicing this week in Orlando, Florida.
“The exclusiveness of the brand, not having so many guys, and the ability to express myself on and off the court in so many different ways appeals to me so much,” Gilgeous-Alexander said.
Welcome to the club
The initial conversations about joining a select Converse portfolio that now includes NBA players Draymond Green and Kelly Oubre Jr., along with WNBA champion Natasha Cloud, began last year in Las Vegas during the NBA’s Summer League.
As a company, Nike had prioritized revamping and refreshing its Jordan roster of endorsers last year, signing Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum, Rui Hachimura and Luka Doncic. Now, that focus is shifting to Converse, with Gilgeous-Alexander next in its continued efforts.
Worn by Julius Erving throughout the 1970s, then ascending throughout the 1980s on the feet of icons Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, Converse is now looking to recapture the style and affinity it carried throughout the basketball industry in that span.
“I saw some of the stuff that Kelly [Oubre Jr.] was doing and how he was able to express his personality and his vibe through his shoes,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I thought it was dope.”
In his first season with Oklahoma City, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 19.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game before the coronavirus pandemic halted the 2019-20 campaign. He emerged as a future cornerstone for a Thunder franchise entering the season’s restart in Orlando fifth in the Western Conference.
“My favorite is definitely the Pro Leather Lows,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “All white. White with red. White with purple. White with green. White with whatever — it doesn’t even matter. It’s kind of like an Air Force 1 almost, and you can wear them every day — with sweats, jeans or with a tux. They’re versatile, and that’s how I dress.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander signs with Converse, and we expect to see more endorsement deals in the coming weeks in the NBA. Make sure you follow us for more NBA news.