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Odds Favor Zion Williamson’s 1st Shoe Deal Being With Adidas Now

Zion Williamson falling against UNC
Zion Williamson suffered a knee injury after his Nike shoes broke when he was trying to change direction against UNC last night. Photo from @TheSportsman (Twitter)
  • Zion Williamson’s Nike shoe explodes as he suffered knee injury.
  • Can Adidas or any of the other competitors capitalize?
  • Who will ink the likely first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft?

If Nike was a front-runner to land Zion Williamson – the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft –  to a coveted shoe deal, that plan took a hit Wednesday night.

Actually, it may have disintegrated.

Rocking the Nike PG 2.5, Williamson fell awkwardly and injured his right knee, while his left plant foot erupted as he ripped right through the shoe, leaving his calf looking like it was hooked by a lobster claw.

Now it appears the shoe market is open to land the most impressive NBA rookie since LeBron James. I mean, Zion’s already legendary.

Odds Who Zion Williamson Sign His First Shoe Deal With

Team Odds at Bovada Odds at BetOnline
Adidas +225 +125
Jordan / Nike +250 +150
Puma +270 +450
Under Armour +400 +1600
New Balance +600 +1600
Big Baller N/A +10000

*All odds taken 2/21

Puma Didn’t Wait to Pounce

Perhaps the media team at Puma should have waited for the dust to settle.

The game was just 33 seconds old, and Williamson’s status was up in the air.

Intro to social media rule #139: do not use a person’s injury to benefit your brand.

Smartly, the rest of the companies stayed quiet. The internet though? There’s a reason they remain undefeated.

Nike in Damage Control

Nike’s stock reportedly took a dip after that unfortunate incident.

Which is fine: when it was announced that Williamson suffered just a mild MCL strain, and nothing catastrophic like a torn ACL, which would have shelved him for close to a year, everyone from Nike to hoop heads collectively breathed a sigh of relief.

For their part, the Swoosh handled it about as best they could.

Again, leave it to the internet to reveal that Nike products have, on occasion, gone boom.

Agency Could Matter

You didn’t need to watch High-Flying Bird on Netflix to know that agents and agencies are real power players in the NBA, and could play a big role with who Williamson eventually inks a deal with.

Looming over all at the moment appears to be Klutch, the mothership of LeBron’s lifelong friend Rich Paul, who you may have heard of recently among all the Anthony Davis kerfuffle. Should Zion go Klutch, it’s likely that Nike will have the inside track.

Then again, signing with Roc Nation might come with the caveat of being the face of Puma, Jay-Z’s latest business interest (though they do also represent Kevin Durant, a longtime Nike guy).

In the end, it’s likely that whoever throws the kid the most money will have the best shot at landing him.

What’s the Best Bet Here?

Adidas is a favorite because of the Nike snafu, but also because they’ve recently been able to meld culture with athletics. Zion, right now, is the culture shifting player. It would be a great combo with reigning MVP James Harden.

While I think that’s a worthy wager, I believe this is still Nike’s race to lose. They almost always land the big fish, with the other brands playing catch-up.

If you’re looking for a long shot, the latest ad campaign for Kawhi Leonard and New Balance is impressive. I don’t know if it will be enough to sway Zion, but it’s a nice +1600 from BetOnline if they do.

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Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV's Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric's work has appeared in local and national publications alike.