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Why Nike Basketball’s 2017 Rookie Class Doesn’t Matter

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These seven talented players represent the next generation. Markelle Fultz, De’Aaron Fox, Jayson Tatum, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, Harry Giles and Jonathan Isaac

Source: Nike News – Nike Basketball Announces Its 2017 Rookie Class

Nike also added Lauri Markkanen to its roster and it doesn’t matter. Last year adidas pulled off a grab of the most talented players entering the league.

Insider Ties: The Next Wave Is Here: adidas Adds Eight to 2016 Rookie Class

Each year this happens and for a few weeks we analyze who could potentially land a Signature shoe or who will get the dopest player exclusive. This used to be very important and often one of the best players would certainly be on the list for a sig, but now it’s par for the course. Guys sign with a brand, wear player exclusives and limited Jordan drops, take pictures for the Gram and sneaker sites blow up shoes that kids will never get in order to generate some grassroots marketing.

  • There aren’t any new and exciting campaigns around the basketball releases.
  • The advertising is left to the NBA and the games. Marketing relies on individual stores figuring out how to merchandise with very little signage or tools for increasing customer engagement.
  • Because basketball was basically the first sport to become professionalized for kids, the outcome has reduced interest in the sport. The professionalization of all sports has reduced interest and the result is decreased viewership especially by the group who sportswear makers are targeting.

Of all of the guys that Nike has signed De’Aaron Fox may be the only guy who stands out as a potential shoe endorser who earns a signature at some point. The only reason I say this is because he has a memorable name and The Fox 1 provides some incredible marketing opportunities. The problem is kids didn’t watch the NBA draft and even in 2016 when the “greatest NCAA championship game ever” was played viewership was down 37% which is astounding.

Nike’s signings aren’t bad and adidas and Under Armour need athletes committed to their products. It definitely helps with exposure, but as competitive sports give way to eSports, Ninja Warrior, parkour and more social activities that aren’t related to participating in school athletics, it will be the NBA and NCAA’s responsibility to reach the viewers where they are if the sports companies want to capitalize off of the images of amazing athletes wearing performance gear.

Right now it might be smarter for Nike to go after Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora and put him in a Nike jersey than the next great basketball player. I think kids want to be more like Saahil than Mike and this is an issue that Nike’s new signing class can’t fix.