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Should Zion Williamson Start His Own Shoe Brand?

Should Zion Williamson Start His Own Shoe Brand?

The 2019 NBA offseason has seen just about everything. Short of what will happen to Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, there's just one thing that we've yet to hear announced before the season starts. What shoe company will Zion Williamson sign with ahead his rookie season?

Williamson is entering the league with arguably more hype than any player since LeBron James in 2003, who was the last coveted player to sign a massive rookie shoe contract. If it wasn't for Lonzo Ball’s heavily touted and quick demise of his Big Baller Brand shoe, Williamson using his massive leverage to start his own brand would appear more feasible and less of a punchline.

Zion's Choice

Although sports attorney Darren Heitner said it's unlikely Williamson forgoes a major shoe company in lieu of starting his own brand, he says Williamson is in the best position of any player to do so.

“He is in a particular position unlike others. If he chose to go that route, he diminishes the risk a normal player would have because he built such equity in his own brand. Zion has built so much of a following on social media and he has captured the heart of America,” Heitner told Benzinga.

Heitner said Williamson goes into the league more powerful than any player in the history of the NBA.

“He is in a different position than Lonzo Ball, when he and his father created BBB, with the right people around him his ceiling is so much higher than it would be signing with Nike,” he said.

Clearly going with a Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE) or Adidas AG (ADR) (OTC: ADDYY) is the safe bet, but as with anything, with massive risk comes massive reward.

“If Zion is going to make somewhere close to $10 million per year, does he really want to shed that guarantee and bear that additional risk and start something on his own even though the potential much higher?” Heitner asks.

What Will He Do?

It remains to be seen how Williamson will leverage his massive influence, but he is a sign of what the future of the NBA will look like as up-and-coming stars come into the league with more leverage than ever due to social media. The NBA free agency period has already shown how much power the players have when it comes to their decision making.

“I do think some point in time we will see a successful business model where a player goes into the league and starts his own brand. It could be the NFL, but NBA players happen to be more marketable and it would require serious due diligence and the right team in place,” said Heitner.

“I think we will see it as Instagram makes it easy to market and sell product today. Shopify Inc (NYSE: SHOP) makes it very simple to make a store to sell online product. It is about finding the right person that is willing to take that risk and potentially heavily reaping the rewards” he said.

To read more about the Big Baller Brand and the probability of Zion Williamson starting his own brand, check out the author's book "The 3D Shoes Project."

Related Links:

Zion Williamson's Marketability Takes A Big Hit If He Lands With The Pelicans

Footwear Analyst: Outrage Over Nike's Betsy Ross Shoe Comes From Outside Its Teen Demographic

Photo credit: Keenan Hairston.


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