This morning, UConn phenom and freshly-drafted Charlotte Bobcat Kemba Walker signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour. Named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the University of Connecticut to its first men’s national title in seven years, Walker was drafted ninth, joining the team owned by the top shoe endorser of all time, Michael Jordan.
Walker joins other guards Brandon Jennings and Greivis Vásquez as the faces of Under Armour Basketball. While UA has other famous endorsers—such as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton—getting into the basketball shoe game has been a challenge for the company. With Nike and Jordan Brand commanding over 90 percent of the market, being a spokesman for the “little guy” was something that resonated with Walker.
“[Being one of the faces] is the reason why I chose Under Armour,” says Walker. “If I would’ve went anywhere else, I definitely would’ve gotten lost. I like starting from the ground up, and that’s just how Under Armour is. Me . . . and the rest of the guys, we’re gonna try our best to build it up.”
After waiting two years to launch it, UA and Brandon Jennings came out last year with the Micro G Black Ice. Although Walker has yet to play in the NBA, we’re betting his signature shoe will be released sooner rather than later; and we’ll be interested to see what creative and performance-related innovations UA and Walker will come up with.