Those looking to support both RJ Barrett's endeavors with the New York Knicks and his continued quest to put Canada national basketball on the right track received a treat sweeter than any maple syrup this week.
The Knicks' young scorer has teamed up with Puma to unveil a new sneaker that will be sold exclusively at the athletic brand's flagship store in Manhattan. Per ESPN's Nick DePaula, the sneakers serve as a walking tribute to Barrett: given a white base, the shoes are colored red and blue, respectively referencing his heritage via both birthplace (Ontario) and college (Duke University Blue Devils). The No. 9 that graces Barrett's Knicks jersey on a night basis appears on the tongue while the interior is embroidered with the phrase "Maple Mamba," a moniker coined by the Duke fans during his lone season in Durham and comparing him to the late Kobe "Black Mamba" Bryant.
The shoe has been granted the official title of "Fusion Nitro RJ PE." Barrett will appear at the franchise store for a Manhattan meet-and-greet on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET. He originally signed with Puma upon his NBA entry, following in the footsteps of team legend, current MSG Network broadcaster, and original brand face Walt "Clyde" Frazier.
Granted a four-year contract extension worth as much as $120 million in lieu of a Donovan Mitchell deal, Barrett is an undeniable part of the Knicks' future. This sneaker, sold on a relative local level, should only help to the growing impact he's had on the Knicks' franchise as he enters his fourth year in blue and orange.
Barrett has already left his mark on Knicks history: at 21, he became the youngest player in franchise history to average at least 20 points, finishing just behind Julius Randle for the team lead.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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