As Converse builds out its stable of sponsored NBA and WNBA stars, the company signed Oklahoma City Thunder youngster Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to a footwear and apparel deal. The partnership will last multiple years, according to the company announcement.
Previously, Gilgeous-Alexander had been a Nike athlete, but in his eyes, Converse, a subsidiary of Nike, offers a more unique opportunity with its apparel options and the chance to get in with a new brand on the ground floor.
“They started the whole basketball sneaker thing,” Gilgeous-Alexander told Erik Horne of The Athletic. “For me, it’s building my own lane, and trying to get it back to that level of people looking at it and seeing it as that high of a basketball brand.”
Gilgeous-Alexander also said he was looking forward to the creativity of being involved with a growing team, signing with Converse while he’s young, and getting to experiment a bit.
“They proposed that they’d give me the opportunity to express myself and my personality on and off the court,” Gilgeous-Alexander told The Athletic. “That’s something that means a lot to me more than just basketball.
Though Gilgeous-Alexander of course thinks fondly of the legendary NBA stars like Julius Erving and Magic Johnson who donned Converse sneakers previously, he said the work of Kelly Oubre Jr. with the company in recent months attracted him. Converse has given Oubre the runway to express himself as part of their partnership, and the young Thunder star hopes to do the same.
He will join a team that includes Oubre, 2019 WNBA champion Natasha Cloud, and Draymond Green as Converse continues to build out its roster.