The NBA signature sneaker market is a crowded place. From LeBron James to Aaron Gordon, there are at least 20 signature athletes on rosters at the moment. Zion Williamson (Jordan Brand) and Trae Young (Adidas) are the newest members to receive the prestigious honor of having their own shoe. While Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball will unveil the Melo 1 signature sneaker with Puma soon.
In what was arguably the NBA draft’s best fashion night out ever, the 2021–22 rookie class made a splash. The potential in this year’s rookie class is oozing with potential for off-the-court opportunities. Rockets No. 2 pick Jalen Green stole the show with a gray suit that resembled a 1970s rock star. Green was the first prospect this year to sign a sneaker deal when he agreed to a lucrative multiyear contract with Adidas. The three-striped brand also welcomed fellow rooks Jalen Suggs, Evan Mobley and Sharife Cooper.
Nike announced the signings of No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham and Warriors No. 7 pick Jonathan Kuminga. The draft had us thinking about the future of the NBA signature sneaker family.
Here is a look at some players who are due or should be in demand for a signature shoe in a few years.
Devin Booker (Nike)
Booker led the Suns on a magical run to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Greek Freak and the Bucks. But Booker’s play should not be looked down upon. The two-time All-Star scored back-to-back 40-point games and scored the most points for a player in their first postseason, taking the honor from Rick Barry. Booker is only 24 but carries himself like a seasoned veteran. He reportedly signed a huge extension with Nike in 2019 and has been one of the torch bearers in Kobe Bryant’s signature line. Booker’s impressive run in the Finals and the Tokyo Olympics definitely makes him a surefire candidate for his own shoe.
Luka Dončić and Jayson Tatum (Jordan Brand)
Dončić and Tatum would have signature shoes with any other brands. There is no question about it. They are both bona fide superstars and faces of the next era of the NBA. Jordan Brand has always been very selective with its signature roster. Zion Williamson received the honor back in April. Dončić and Tatum are both worthy and will both model the Air Jordan 36 this upcoming season. With Michael Jordan way past his playing days, there needs to be someone who carries his legacy. Can’t go wrong with any of these three guys.
Ja Morant (Nike)
Morant is one of the most electrifying players in the NBA, and that is one of the reasons why Nike has continuously called upon him to be the face of the Nike Adapt series. He changed the culture of the Grizzlies’ organization and is well respected throughout the league.
Jalen Green (Adidas)
This year’s draft class was full of potential superstars who can carry a franchise and a brand. Green is one of the rare players who can transcend off the court due to his style and personality. He is exactly what Adidas needs as it continues to usher into the new era of the brand. With Fear of God designer Jerry Lorenzo as the new global head of Adidas Basketball, the opportunities to feature Green in marketing campaigns are endless. The signature roster includes James Harden, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Derrick Rose and Trae Young, and Green is—without a doubt—next in line.