PUMA Basketball Rebounds
Updated: Oct 2
PUMA’s recent signing of rising star Kyle Kuzma to a 5-year shoe deal fully establishes them as a rising competitor to Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. Despite the company’s 20 year hiatus from the basketball world, Puma’s recent push looks like a winning strategy as the iconic brand re-asserts itself in the incredibly competitive market. PUMA is here to stay for many years to come.
Starting with Puma’s main spokesperson and initial signing Walt “Clyde” Frazier, the brand is targeting an audience that appreciates fashion and quality. Frazier, the great New York Knicks point guard, is remembered for leading the Knicks to their only two titles equally as he is for his uniquely effervescent style. As with all trends, what is old is now new, thus Puma has hit the jackpot. With a platform of style and comfort, they were able to sign a young class of players that will sport the brand as they develop into franchise stars. They landed RJ Barrett, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Danny Green, Kevin Knox, Michael Porter Jr., Terry Rozier, Zhaire Smith, Kevin Porter Jr., and now Kuzma. It’s a loaded roster ranging from rookies to vets: five of the first 16 picks in the 2018 NBA draft, including the top two selections, NBA veterans, and a four-time WNBA All-Star.
Historically the NBA has been home to great individual athletes, but in addition to elite level of play, they have also become a factory for cultural icons. NBA players are bonafide personalities by their actions on and off the court, and by the way they dress and the shoes they play in. As seen through Nike’s successes with Jordan and Lebron, it only takes one player to create a brand that players around the world want part of. Puma hopes Kuzma can be that guy. His level of play is nowhere near that of either of the two greatest, but he brings a comparable allure to the youth and culture as a whole as he is an image of the times. His social media presence, marketability of being heir-apparent to Lebron’s Showtime Lakers, and his on-court potential mix for a perfect face of their franchise.
Overall, the Puma Basketball reboot has worked like a charm as they now have an untapped ceiling. If the star-studded roster is not enough to convince one that Puma is here to stay, maybe the creative director of the rejuvenated basketball division can, Jay-Z. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner in building the vision for what we’re doing,” said Adam Petrick, who’s been with Puma since 1999, when he joined the company as web content manager. He’s now the global director of brand and marketing. “Jay-Z is a savvy business partner who understands how the market works … He’s also extraordinarily knowledgeable about the culture surrounding the game.” With an icon like Jay-Z at the reigns, the fanbase and outreach has multiplied. Watch out as Puma is the dark-horse to sign many more of the NBA’s future stars.