Los Angeles Lakers rookie Moe Wagner has agreed to a multi-year shoe deal with Jordan Brand, according to Nick DePaula of ESPN. The 21-year-old big man will join players such as Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Kawhi Leonard in representing the iconic Nike subsidiary.
Wagner is the first rookie in the 2018 NBA Draft class to sign a shoe deal with Jordan Brand. Charlotte Hornets owner and face of the Jordan Brand, Michael Jordan, is notorious for signing his own rookies to shoe deals with Jordan Brand, however, that wasn’t the case this year.
Wagner is also the only one of the Lakers’ three rookies to have reportedly signed an endorsement deal, although Isaac Bonga has worn Adidas his entire professional career. Svi Mykhailiuk also favored Adidas during his four years at Kansas, but he recently started taking a liking to Nike sneakers, playing in the Kobe AD NXT 360s during summer league.
With most of the high draft picks signing with Puma this summer, including DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Kevin Knox, Michael Porter Jr. and Zhaire Smith, and given the Lakers’ huge local and international following, Wagner was therefore one of the best rookie sneaker free agents left on the market for Jordan. However, he’s unlikely to ever be one of the leading faces of the brand considering the discouraging history of big men and signature sneakers.
With Wagner off the market, there are only a handful of sneaker free agents left on the Lakers’ roster, including the aforementioned Bonga and Mykhailiuk as well as JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart, and Lance Stephenson, who was last with AND1.
LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma are both Nike athletes, Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac have endorsement deals with Adidas and Lonzo Ball, of course, is usually sporting Big Baller Brand. Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo is one of two active NBA players that has a sneaker deal with Anta, a Chinese sportswear company. Future Laker Klay Thompson is the other.
It’s unclear what Wagner’s role with the Lakers will be this season, but at least he’ll get to wear cool shoes and get paid for it. What more could a 21-year-old ask for?
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