Sabrina Ionescu may be going across the country to play with the New York Liberty, but she's staying close to home after she announced she signed an endorsement deal with Nike.
You built a program. You broke records. You won awards.— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) April 18, 2020
You still have unfinished business.
You’re ready to move the game forward,
and now your name has been called.
So, what’s next?
You’ll show us. #justdoit @sabrina_i20 pic.twitter.com/INHqGI7hkf
The announcement came on a conference call after she was selected first overall by the New York Liberty in the 2020 WNBA Draft.
She previously commented she was considering signing with Nike, Under Armour, and Puma.
Nike seemingly has plans to give Ionescu a signature shoeline and clothing line, based on comments Ionescu made on NBC Sports Bay Area's Runnin' Plays Podcast earlier this week.
I think before this all happened, I never thought about it because I didn't think it was even a possibility because women don't usually have signature shoes," Ionescu said. "And then I think listening to a lot of these companies and the goals and visions that they had to have a signature shoe down the line, I was like, 'Oh, actually that would be pretty cool.'
And I feel like a lot of individuals would want to buy that shoe and wear that shoe. And so I think now taking kind of two weeks, fast forward what I had thought before starting this, I do think a shoe would be really cool or like a clothing line or something, which would be awesome, and would be kind of beyond belief just because I'm so used to buying other people's shoes, and kind of looking up to them. And so kind of having that reciprocated would be awesome.
Ionescu would not be the first women's basketball player to have a signature shoe: Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley, Cynthia Cooper, Nicki McCray, Rebecca Lobo and Chamique Holdsclaw had signature lines with Nike, Adidas, Reebok and FILA during the WNBA's early days. However, low sales of the sneakers doomed the trend.
However, she will flip that narrative upside down. After a petition went viral for Nike to sell Oregon women's basketball jerseys, her #20 replica sold out within hours. Each subsequent restocking would later be sold out within the day.
Her social media following (77k Twitter followers and 329k Instagram followers) further exemplifies her grand following and indicates signing her to a deal would mean great sales are to come for that brand.
Also, it looks like her Big Brother Steph Curry's daily texting couldn't overcome her long relationship with Nike that has spanned the prior ten years of her life.
Hope you're ready to buy some Sabrina's.