Unofficially, the Knicks rookie and athletic brand will join forces as a courtship seemingly blooms into full partnership after an ESPN appearance from Kevin Knox.
Kevin Knox drew furtive looks from the sneaker world when the New York Knicks rookie entertained the idea of signing with athletic brand Puma, which recently leaped back into designing footwear for basketball.
The 19-year-old posted an Instagram story (expired by now) of a practice session in the gym with his sneaker censored out with white drawing. On Friday, August 31st, the Puma Hoops Twitter account further expressed their interest in the rookie forward with a less than subtle tweet.
— PUMA Basketball (@PUMAHoops) August 31, 2018
Knox, without the crucial “Retweets≠endorsements” statement in his bio, indeed retweeted Puma’s sentiment towards signing the Knickerbocker. Kevin appeared on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday morning, speaking about a number of topics including expectations for the upcoming season and how head coach David Fizdale will use the rookie. Not-so-coincidentally, Knox wore a Puma shirt during his interview with Stephen A. Smith.
— PUMA Basketball (@PUMAHoops) September 4, 2018
Unofficially, the Knox-Puma connection signals a sneaker deal could be announced any minute. Puma recently signed Knox’s 2018 draft classmates numbers one and two overall selections DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III. Puma also renewed its relationship with former Knick and current MSG Network broadcaster Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Frazier spearheaded Puma’s foray into footwear in the 1970’s. Clyde was the face—or foot?—of Puma’s campaign, using the stylish and popular Frazier to sell sneakers.
With Knox emerging as an affable rookie in a league filled with brand ambassadors, Puma has entered—and seemingly won—the race to sign the former Kentucky Wildcat to a sneaker contract. Teammate Kristaps Porzingis has a deal with Adidas, and the Knicks have been out and around the town, spreading sociable smiles and leveraging the biggest media capital in the world, New York, to sell not only products but the impending success and rebuild of the Knicks. Last week, Frank Ntilikina competed in and became victorious in the NBA and 2K’s promotional event for NBA 2K19—the celebrity tournament held in Brooklyn. Ntilikina upended challengers Brooklyn Nets’ D’Angelo Russell, Saturday Night Live‘s Pete Davidson, and YouTuber Jesser The Lazer.
Puma’s deal with Knox also realizes the stardom potential in the rookie. Building a relationship with Kevin—while all still unofficial—would benefit the multinational company and athlete, finding a path towards using Knox as a spokesperson alongside rejuvenating Puma’s marketshare in the footwear industry.
UPDATE: 10:14 p.m. EST.
Kevin Knox posted on Instagram a photo of himself donning the Puma shirt, further suggesting the partnership between footwear brand and Knickerbocker.
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) September 5, 2018
UPDATE: 10:23 p.m. EST.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania confirms the official news of Knox’s deal with Puma:
New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox — the No. 9 overall pick in June — has signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Puma, sources say.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 5, 2018