The world of basketball sneakers is nearly as big as the world of basketball. For that matter, the basketball footwear industry is nearly as big as the NBA itself. And the loyalties for players often rest more with their shoes than with their teams.
So if you’re a sneakerhead, here’s the big news coming out of Golden State Warriors camp: Draymond Green is returning to Nike.
According to a report from Nick DePaula, Green has signed a sneaker deal with Nike, far and away the largest and most successful basketball footwear brand in the world. It’s a return for the four-time All-Star, who spent the formative years of his career under the Nike swoosh before signing a multi-year deal with Converse towards the end of the 2019-2020 season.
It’s not a huge change, however, as Converse is owned by Nike. Yet despite being under the same umbrella, Converse operates independent of Nike, and on its own budget, so it really was a separate deal for the future Hall-of-Famer ... just in the same family.
For Green, it’s easy to see the allure in moving to Converse, and the allure in returning to Nike, where he’ll presumably once again have a signature line. When Green made the shift to Converse, he was joining a historic shoe company that was far and away the dominant shoe in the league before Michael Jordan made the bold and unexpected move to sign with then-struggling Nike. Converse made Green the entire face of their basketball line, and you can understand the appeal there, especially since Green’s fellow Warriors stars, Steph Curry (Under Armour) and Klay Thompson (Anta) are the faces of their respective sneaker brands.
Perhaps it didn’t work as well as Converse was hoping, perhaps Green was ready for a new adventure, or perhaps he just was ready to trade in being the face of a smaller brand for having a shoe with arguably the most recognizable clothing brand in the world, and a logo as synonymous with the NBA as any team logo.
Green showcased his return to Nike at Monday’s media day, where he wore a pair of NXXT Gen sneakers from the signature line of his good friend LeBron James. He joins a truly stacked list of Nike athletes that includes, among many other NBA stars, James, former teammate Kevin Durant, and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as WNBA stars like A’ja Wilson, Brittney Griner, and the Bay Area’s own Sabrina Ionescu.
The Warriors now represent quite a large swath of shoe companies. Green is at iconic Nike; Curry is the face of Under Armour; Thompson and Kevon Looney are the two highest-profile NBA athletes at Anta; Chris Paul has been with Jordan Brand, a Nike subsidiary, for nearly his entire career; and Andrew Wiggins is the face of the basketball line at Peak, an up-and-coming Chinese sportswear company.
That’s a lot of different shoes getting shipped to 1 Warriors Way in San Francisco!