Adidas Basketball has enjoyed a renaissance over the last five years with consistently great basketball footwear releases. Dark days fell upon Adidas between the Tracey McGrady era of the early/mid 2000’s and the rise of Derrick Rose in 2010. Uninspired silhouettes on the feet Tim Duncan, Chauncey Billups and Gilbert Arenas were commercial misses (with cult followings). Adidas’s designs looked extremely rigid and with aging technology (when compared to competitors) their shoes couldn’t hang with the likes of Nike.
Adidas Basketball historically creates their greatest footwear by taking chances on athletes with star potential. When Adidas signed a young Kobe Bryant they were banking on the youngin’s ability to become something great (people forget Kobe started his career coming off the bench). Their risk resulted in some of their most iconic footwear in The Kobe and Kobe II and it’s all due to the brand’s ability to market young budding talent. Outside of a championship McGrady’s signature line story plays out much like Bryant’s – sign young talent, watch talent captivate audiences, then release great shoes.
Why are we reminiscing about Kobe and T-Mac? Because we want to shine the spotlight on three up-and-coming Adidas athletes that should get a signature shoe. These three ballers have displayed great potential, generated hype and have strong overall marketability. So we ask, who do you think ‘got next’ in the signature game?
3. Kristap Porzingis – N.Y. Knicks
This 23 year old center Latvian better known as The Unicorn destroys opponents with his diverse skillset. Common comparisons link him to Dirk Nowitzki because of his smooth jumper and European descent but The Unicorn plays much better defense. His quiet yet comical persona has made him quite popular. Aided by the New York spotlight, Porzingis has the ability to be an All-Star both on the court and on sales reports. Unfortunately, the Knicks big-man needs a clean slate of health. With career averages of 18 ppg, 7 rpg and 2 blocks per-game Porzingis defiantly has the ability to dominate he’s just unable to wether an entire NBA season injury free. There’s no doubt Kristap will wreck the league when he returns, we hope a full season in Adidas kicks evolves into a signature line… in pink, unicorn-like, colors.
2. Brandon Ingram – L.A. Lakers
With expectations of being LeBron’s “Robin” (Batman reference), Brandon Ingram’s expected to make a huge leap to NBA stardom. With a committed work ethic the Duke product has the traits of a winner and the ability to one day dominate on the wing. Brandon’s young, like ‘just started legally drinking a month ago’ young but he’s already been rocking some of the hottest Adidas PEs in the league. Adidas signed Brandon before the start of his rookie season and has been one of the brand’s top endorsers. Los Angeles’s tradition of excellence lends itself well to the young Laker’s chances of landing a signature shoe. Ingram will be afforded every opportunity to shine this season and if he capitalizes then don’t be surprised if we get an ‘Adidas BI1’.
1. Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz
Donovan “Spida” Mitchell has enjoyed the most success out of our three nominees, so we feel confident that Adidas will cook up something personal for the Jazz guard soon. A seamless fit in Utah’s offense after Gordon Hayward departed instantly made Mitchell a key contributor. His athleticism, shooting and poise are that of a seasoned veteran… and he’s won more Playoff games than most actual seasoned All-Stars. If you imagine young D-Wade with a jumper then you’d have an accurate understanding of what Mitchell brings to the table. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting last season so a potential All-Star in ’19 isn’t too far fetched. Like Ingram, Mitchell’s been rockin’ with Adidas since Draft Night. He’s frequently seen rocking the kicks of Portland guard, Damian Lillard. It would be a smart move for Adidas to capitalize on Donovan’s potential early (like they did with Damian) and have his signature line grow with his stardom. Of these three, who would you like to see get a signature shoe?