PUMA has been dormant in the basketball space for a couple of decades now but that's clearly set to change, as the brand has recently turned heads by signing Deandre Ayton, the projected No. 1 pick in this week's NBA draft, as well as presumptive first-rounders Marvin Bagley III and Zhaire Smith. (They represent the brand's first NBA endorsements since Vince Carter signed with PUMA in 1998.) But the most high-profile signing may involve a partnership with a non-athlete: PUMA has inked a deal with Jay-Z as the division's creative consultant, a position that will see the rapper directing the brand's art design, as well as the overall aesthetic concept of the PUMA basketball brand.
"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," says Adam Petrick, PUMA's global director of brand and marketing. "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."