PUMA earlier today announced its re-entry into the basketball space with the signing of presumptive 2018 No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton and a lifetime contract for Walt Clyde Frazier. Now, from a wider cultural viewpoint, the news grows larger as it has been confirmed that Jay Z is the President of PUMA Basketball.
“We’ve been working with Roc Nation for quite some time. They’ve been great partners to us for several years. We’ve done many different deals with many different ambassadors,” Adam Petrick, PUMA Global Director of Brand and Marketing, told Complex Sports.
Among Jay Z’s presidential duties, it’s reported that he will have a hand in players signed to PUMA Basketball – which currently includes Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Zhaire Smith — and take a role in the brand’s art and conceptual direction.
“What’s important to him on a day like today is that it’s clear we’re making a serious push with players like Bagley and Ayton and Smith. We’re making a serious statement about the entry of the category, that we want to be a performance brand, but then also very culturally focused. It’s clear that we’re looking at basketball through the lens of culture, and thinking about the fashion of basketball, the music of basketball, all the aspects of culture around basketball as much as the on court presence that we will have,” Petrick continued to Complex.
As previously stated, Roc Nation has worked in partnership with PUMA for some time. Jay Z wears PUMA footwear almost exclusively. Big Sean, managed by Roc Nation, has a collaborative deal with the German sportswear brand. More intimately, too, Jay Z’s close childhood friend, Emory Jones, works in a lifestyle collaborator role with PUMA. It is expected that his influence will be felt on PUMA Basketball in an operational capacity.
Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in this Thursday’s 2018 NBA Draft. Marvin Bagley of Duke is expected to be a top three pick. Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith will also land somewhere in the draft lottery.
Jay Z is currently on tour with his wife Beyoncé. The couple released a joint album, Everything is Love, this weekend.