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Ja Morant Deserves a Signature Sneaker Right Now

The Memphis guard defying gravity in the NBA playoffs got us thinking.

What are the ingredients that make a great signature star? Is it the shoes? Is it solely on the name? Is it the market a player plays in? Whatever it is, Ja Morant should be next in line to receive the honor.

Tuesday night will be remembered as one of those nights that Morant took flight, in more ways than one. With Memphis on the verge of going down 3–2 to the Timberwolves in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the All-Star broke out one of the most spectacular performances of this postseason. Morant finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists in Memphis’s 111–109 win in Game 5. He struggled through the first three quarters but erupted in the fourth quarter, scoring 18 points and the game-winning layup.

But it was his poster dunk on Malik Beasley at the end of the third quarter that had social media in a frenzy.

Ja Morant dunks on Malik Beasley in Game 5

“I really wasn’t that excited about the dunk. It was over a guard; that’s pretty easy,” Morant told reporters after the game. “It definitely ignited the crowd. Gave us some energy.”

The dunk was the latest sign that Morant is a sneaker marketer’s dream. He has the athleticism and charisma, a fun team and city, and most importantly he looks like an everyday guy that people can relate to. He is not a 7-foot wing like Kevin Durant or a Marvel superhero disguised as LeBron James.

While the market is crowded, there have never been more signature sneakers on an NBA court than this year with a total of 21 players having their own shoes. Jordan Brand unveiled Luka Dončić's first signature sneaker this past weekend. Jayson Tatum, who has been one of the biggest stars of this postseason, will reportedly debut his first signature sneaker with Jordan before the start of the next NBA season.

Morant signed a deal with Nike ahead of the 2019 NBA draft and has led several campaigns for the brand, such as the Nike Adapt BB shoe and his own commercial this season.

James, Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving and Paul George make up the roster of Nike’s current signature NBA athletes, and there are guys like Devin Booker and Anthony Davis who are also worthy. But it’s time to make room for one more.

The old way of thinking used to be that players in smaller markets couldn’t be the face of a signature shoe. Those players would have to venture out to locations such as New York, Los Angeles or Chicago—but the narrative has changed. Social media has changed the way fans and consumers connect with players. George unveiled his first signature sneaker while playing in Indiana, Antetokoumpo shattered expectations in Milwaukee and LaMelo Ball has brought the buzz back to Charlotte and Puma. It’s time to strike when the iron is hot. Ja Morant needs his own signature sneaker!

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