The Next Nike Superstar, Hopefully – By David Lopez

Upon the realization that Nike, one of the biggest shoe manufacturers and sponsors in basketball, has only three “franchise guys”, DLo of the Sports Special that bears the same name, gives his expert kicks opinion on who should be the next Nike superstar.


Three years John Wall signed with Reebok and the resurrection of a sneaker company was certain to ensue.  The best laid plans of mice and men, right.  The only prestigious place to find a pair of John wall Reebok’s is in a clearance section of  (If you’re among the few people who are clamoring for a pair, go here).

I don’t envy the executives who have to make these tough decisions on whose going to be the face of their franchise.  Well, I do because they get all the shoes they want for free.  But other than that, I don’t envy them.  I’m sure that sounds ridiculous.  But think about it, Wall really was, by all accounts, supposed to be something special.  It figures he would have been a safe target to throw the financial kitchen sink towards.

The other day I was discussing Nike releases with a friend and the reality is there are only three Nike shoes worth talking about. Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.  I wondered why there aren’t more NBA players coming out with their own line of shoes.  Then I remember the above listed Wall anecdote and that pretty much answered my question.

So long story short, I’m here to figure out who the next likely candidate of basketball footwear should be.  Bare in mind, if they are already signed to a lucrative contract deal they are out of this conversation.  Chris Paul, Dwayne wade and Carmelo Anthony are out, because they’re signed with the Jordan Brand and already have a line of footwear products.  Same thing with Dwight Howard or Derrick Rose who are both Adidas guys.  (So is Tim Duncan).  Tony Parker is claimed as is pretty much every face of a franchise.

Really the list of superstars that people care about outside of their own market is gone.  After Sunday nights dunk that made the internet explode, I thought DeAndre Jordan might be a qualified candidate for his own sneaker.  The Clipper already wears Under Armour, and realistically he just isn’t a big enough deal outside of the Los Angeles market.  So I traveled up north to Sacramento and Golden State.  I’d probably pass on all the guys on those rosters.  Move over to Phoenix, I’ll still pass.  Denver, nope; Houston…maybe.

The first guy I came up with is James Harden.  The dude is marketable beyond belief.  If you don’t believe me you clearly haven’t seen any of the Approved Heat Footlocker ads on TV.  Houston may not be a super sexy market, but he’s essentially the undisputed leader of that team who figures to be playoff bound for the first time since 2009.  He’s got unique style of play on the court. If he had the backing of a Nike footwear company, you could boost him and his beard to a whole new level of marketability.

Next, I’ve got the young gun up in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving.  I might be a little late on him, because his endorsement train is just getting chugging. He recently signed an endorsement deal with Skull Candy and that doesn’t figure to be the last one he’ll receive.  He has shined in the All-Star Game and in the NBA Rising Star game during All-Star weekend in Houston.  He’s going to be the future face of the NBA and for that reason you’ve got to give him a nod to be the future face basketball footwear.

The last guy that I’ve come up with is a man who really doesn’t fit the mold.  His game is offensive to the max but for some reason he is disregarded when it comes to house hold offensive names.  So much so in fact I wrote him off earlier in this very article.  Stephen Curry from Golden State.  The dude dropped 55 points earlier this season in Madison Square Garden.  He’s in the top-10 on the NBA scoring leaders right now averaging 22 points a game.  If someone were to actually market him I believe they would be successful.  (As long as said brand is not Adidas or Reebok).

I guess this goes to shave that you have to have a player with talent and the next thing is to have a shoe that compliments said talent.  All these guys have names and games that are just waiting to have an image molded around them.  One thing is for certain, I can’t wait to see what the next wave of basketball shoes hold.  I hope the sneaker industry can figure out a way to diminish the John Wall busts.

You’re probably wondering who my pick of these three guys would be.  Really, it’s easy, the answer is without question Irving.  Like I said he will be the face of basketball in the coming years and with that comes the responsibility of presenting fly kicks to sneaker heads all over the World.

We’re waiting.


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