Nike is betting on Giannis Antetokounmpo becoming the next perennial NBA superstar for years to come.
The Milwaukee Bucks star announced a new partnership with the shoe titan via his Instagram account Tuesday.
Nike initially had a deal with the player affectionately known as the Greek Freak, but the four-year contract expired Oct. 1. Adidas was rumored to be aggressively pursuing Antetokounmpo's endorsement, but the MVP candidate chose to remain loyal to Nike. The multinational company believes Antetokounmpo is extremely marketable not only in the United States, but around the globe.
"I've always said that I think he's one of those guys that has the potential to transcend his market," Antetokounmpo's agent, Alex Saratsis, previously told ESPN. "I think he's showing that he can do that. I think he's one of the few players that could have a truly global appeal."
Antetokounmpo will also get a signature shoe as part of the deal, which is one of the greatest honors bestowed upon a professional basketball player from an apparel perspective. The design process is quite lengthy, however, which means we might not see the shoe hit the market until 2019. Financial terms of the new deal are unknown, but are expected to be very lucrative for the 22-year-old baller.
It's not surprising that Antetokounmpo is remaining loyal to Nike, the company that believed in him before he even hit the court. The reigning Most Improved Player recently told Marc Stein of the New York Post that he prefers Milwaukee, the fourth-smallest basketball market in America, over "flashy" cities like Los Angeles or Miami. He also describes himself as a "low-profile guy."
However, there's nothing low-profile about Antetokounmpo's start this season. He's averaging a league-best 31 points per game through nine contests while grabbing 10 rebounds and amassing 1.4 blocks per game.