Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

When Sabrina Ionescu steps foot on a WNBA court to begin her professional career, many are wondering which brand of shoe she'll be wearing.

The three front runners to secure the all-time leading triple-double leader in college basketball history are Nike, Under Armour and Puma.

When she joined NBC Sports Bay Area's Runnin' Plays Podcast, Ionescu said she hasn't decided but the vision of the brands has her excited, including the idea of having a signature shoe.  

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, 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.

 

Ionescu can flip the 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. 

If Steph Curry has anything to say about it, he expects her to sign with Under Armour: "I think he texts me almost every day. He's working hard."

However, she has been with Nike for ten years and just finished playing four seasons at the University of Oregon which has a heavy Nike influence due to generous donations from alumni CEO of Nike, Phil Knight.

"I have not made a shoe deal decision yet on who to sign with but obviously I have a great relationship with Steph so that part's kind of hard. And I have a great relationship with Nike because I've been with Nike for ten years and then Puma's also kind of on the up and coming. There's a lot of pros and cons to all of them. And so it's kind of hard trying to figure out who I want to go with and what the best fit would be." 

Well, no matter who makes the sneakers one thing's for sure: they'll be worn all around Eugene.