OKC Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander signs with Converse
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the newest face of an iconic brand.
The Thunder guard has signed with Converse, the shoe company announced Wednesday. Gilgeous-Alexander is just the third active NBA player to join the brand’s ranks.
“I’m a guy that wants to stand out, be different from the pack,” Gilgeous-Alexander said in a minute-long ad Converse released.
That desire was the reason behind the change, according to Dwayne Washington, Gilgeous-Alexander’s brand manager.
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“Obviously Nike has all the big boys, but Converse is starting a division with a few guys,” Washington told The Oklahoman. “He can have a little more creative control, because there’s not so many superstars there. He’s always wanted to be outside the box.”
Golden State’s Draymond Green and Phoenix’s Kelly Oubre Jr. are the only other NBA players partnered with Converse.
Gilgeous-Alexander signed with Nike after turning pro, which allowed for a smooth transition to Converse. Founded in 1908, Converse has been a subsidiary of Nike since 2003. Adrian Stelly, Gilgeous-Alexander’s former Nike rep, was promoted to a position at Converse and facilitated Gilgeous-Alexander’s brand shift.
“Converse being more of a fashion-type shoe fits his narrative and fits who he is,” Washington said.
Gilgeous-Alexander will wear the All Star Pro BB in a low-cut style, a shoe similar to the line of Kobe sneakers Gilgeous-Alexander sported this season. He will make his debut in the Converse shoes during the NBA’s restart at Disney World.
Gilgeous-Alexander is the Thunder’s leading scorer at 19.3 points per game. On Jan. 13 against Minnesota, he became the youngest player in NBA history to record a 20-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist triple double.
The Toronto native is joining a brand of sneakers Julius Irving, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird wore during their hall of fame careers. Before them, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain dominated in classic Chuck Taylor All Stars.
Gilgeous-Alexander won’t turn 22 until Sunday, but the young Thunder guard has plenty of old tricks in his game.
“Classic meets contemporary” was part of Converse’s pitch.
“You could see Shai playing in black and white,” Washington said. “It wouldn't be a stretch. He’s a connector to the past, to the future and also to the present.”