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Nike Back to Being Favorites to Sign Zion Williamson to First NBA Shoe Deal

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in College Basketball

Updated Dec 19, 2022 · 3:36 PM PST

Zion Williamson Nike shoes
Zion Williamson is favored to get an NBA shoe deal with Nike, despite suffering a knee injury after his Nike shoes broke when he was trying to change direction this season in a game against UNC. Photo from @TheSportsman (Twitter)
  • Sportsbooks favor Nike to sign Zion Williamson to an NBA shoe contract
  • The Duke star suffered a knee injury earlier this season when his Nike shoe exploded as he planted his foot on the floor
  • Original odds had Adidas as Williamson’s likely shoe supplier

If the shoe fits, wear it? But which shoe company’s footwear will prove to be the best fit for Duke Blue Devils superstar Zion Williamson?

Michigan State beat Duke in the Elite Eight stage of the NCAA Tournament. That freed Williamson, the prohibitive favorite to be selected first overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, to turn his attention from March Madness to shoe madness.

Nike is favored to get Williamson’s name on a shoe contract to begin his NBA career.

Which Brand Will Sign Zion Williamson to an NBA Shoe Contract?

Which Shoe Brand Will Sign Zion Williamson? Odds
Nike -150
Adidas +175
Puma +400
Under Armour +2000
New Balance +2500

*Odds taken on 04/03/19

The original odds on this prop favored Adidas to be the footwear manufacturer that would succeed in inking Williamson to an NBA contract to wear their product.

Shoe Him the Money

It’s expected that Williamson’s shoe deal will exceed $100 million, surpassing the rookie record $87-million pact LeBron James signed with Nike when he turned pro in 2003.

The anticipated bidding war between Nike and Adidas will be the driver behind this price surge.

Former Nike, Reebok, and Adidas executive Sonny Vaccaro predicted to ESPN that Williamson’s package will be a once-in-a-lifetime footwear deal for a pro athlete.

What the Stars are Wearing

Nike landed James and also paid Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors $60 million for a sneaker deal when he turned pro.

Durant’s Golden State teammate Stephen Curry, whose shoes are the no. 3 seller among NBA players, left Nike for Under Armour in 2013 on a deal that pays him a reported $4 million a year, runs through 2024 and includes equity in the company.

Reigning NBA MVP James Harden wears Adidas after signing a 13-year deal in 2015 that pays him over $15 million a year.

Zion’s Big Explosion

You’d think that after his Nike shoe exploded during a game this season against North Carolina, resulting in a knee injury that cost the 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson five games, he’d be looking elsewhere for footwear.

YouTube video

But Nike designed him a new shoe to wear upon his return and he had no issue with his footwear the remainder of the season.

Why Nike Will Still Win Out

Quite simply, they remain the footwear that is most popular with the young stars of pro basketball.

A footwear study conducted by USA Today during last season’s Las Vegas Summer League revealed that 385 of the 519 players involved in the loop were wearing Nikes.

Adidas sneakers (92) were a distant second, followed by Under Armour (18).

Nike remains the brand that the NBA stars wear and that’s why it will be the brand that Zion wears in the NBA.

Pick: Nike (-150)

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