Saturday, September 22, 2018

Knicks’ Kevin Knox becomes latest local to get a shoe deal

It always seemed Nike would play a prominent role in Kevin Knox's future footwear.

The shoe company sponsored Knox's Florida-based travel team, Each1Teach1. Nike's influence also extended to his high school team. The shoe company gave Tampa Catholic $10,000 to $15,000 worth of gear during Knox's senior season.

When it came time to sign with a college, Knox chose Kentucky, a Nike school.

But Knox always kept his options open. He attended Adidas and Under Armour-sponsored events the summer going into his senior season of high school.

The affiliation with the Swoosh ended this week when Knox, who is entering his rookie season with the New York Knicks, signed an endorsement deal with Puma.

"We are going from a Nike kid to a Puma man," said Knox's father, also named Kevin.

Knox is among three area athletes who are now featured in ad campaigns with shoe companies.

Earlier this week, former Lakewood and UCF standout Shaquem Griffin was among several athletes displayed in ads celebrating the 30th anniversary of Nike's "Just Do It" slogan. The campaign made headlines because it also featured Colin Kaepernick.

Three years ago, former Gibbs standout and Olympic sprinter Trayvon Bromell signed a multiyear deal with New Balance. He has promoted certain collections and helped design his own line with the shoe company.

RELATED: Ex-Gibbs High track star Bromell cashes in by turning pro, but there are pitfalls

As for Knox, there were signs he was leaning toward signing with Puma. On Tuesday, he went on ESPN's First Take and sported a shirt with the shoe company's logo. Later that day, Knox's deal with Puma became official.

Puma has been looking to venture into the basketball world. The shoe company named rapper Jay-Z as creative director and spent the summer building up its brand by signing top-level NBA draft picks.

Knox became the fourth top 15 selection to sign with Puma, joining DeAndre Ayton (No. 1 overall), Marvin Bagley (No. 2) , Michael Porter (No. 14) and Zhaire Smith (No. 15).

Puma also signed Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier, who has the same agent as Knox.

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