In 2018, Shai signed a deal with Nike upon turning pro. Today, he shares what intrigued him to partner with Converse. He states, “The exclusiveness of the brand, not having so many guys, and the ability to express myself on and off the court in so many different ways appeals to me so much.”
Converse Basketball’s general manager, Ron Johnson shares his vision for the program as it relates to Nike and Jordan brands. He says, “Think about it this way: Nike leads the industry in innovation, Jordan represents the passion and flight of the game, and Converse celebrates the individuality and progress of the athlete, We’re completing a Nike, Inc., offense in basketball and collaborating to carve out our own space.”
Converse encourages creative control with its past athlete partnerships. Kelly Oubre Jr.’s recent “Soul Collection” highlighted Oubre’s personal psychedelic rock flare—something that attracted Shai’s attention to signing with Converse.
“I saw some of the stuff that Kelly [Oubre Jr.] was doing and how he was able to express his personality and his vibe through his shoes,” said Gilgeous-Alexander. “I thought it was dope.”
Gilgeous-Alexander is expected to get similar design input and creative control with Converse.
“The biggest thing early on is I’ve been able to bring my ideas and my creativity to life,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “That’s something that not a lot of players in the NBA get to do.”