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NCAAM: Is Reebok Hitching Its Future on John Wall?

April 15, 2010

Yahoo! has a story today that likely No. 1 pick John Wall could be joining LeBron James’ marketing firm. Now the my angle: deep in the story, there’s a mention about a potential shoe deal that is likely to send a few shockwaves. First, the details:

Point guard Raleigh, North Carolina Word Of God Christian Academy AAU: D-One Sports Ht:6'4" Wt:184 lbs Class:2009 (High School)

In the short term, they’ll be negotiating a sneaker deal that promises to invigorate a stagnant market for young players. Reebok is banking that Wall can be its product’s face with the demise of Allen Iverson, and multiple sources say the company’s prepared an offer that could be worth $3 million-$4 million annually. Here’s the test for LRMR: Does it have the chops to get Wall more than the traditional shoe deal?Wall isn’t going to be LeBron, but he’s the most-hyped player to come since him,” a rival sneaker industry official said. “And, sometimes, hype is just as important as talent.”

Shock No. 1: They’re still giving out shoe deals worth this much? The last few years made it seem like shoe deals had really dried up. Shelling out that much for John Wall would be a big change of course. Judging from Darren Rovell’s tweet, it would be risky.

Shock No. 2: LeBron is going to let Wall be a part of Reebok? Wall has been a Nike guy for a bit now. He wore Hyperdunks at Word of God in high school. He switched between Hyperdunks, Hyperizes and LeBron VIIs at Kentucky this season. Now, ultimately there’s probably some division of labor. LeBron, the person, would probably love to have Wall rocking his kicks in the NBA, but LeBron, the business man who runs a marketing firm, has a responsibility to get Wall the best deal possible.

I can’t imagine Nike would pay marquee dollars to Wall. It’s not like they’re at a loss for big hoops endorsers. But Reebok? They could use Wall. Still, it’d be strange to see a Wall sneaker deal brokered by LeBron’s marketing firm with anyone other than Nike. Oh, and let’s not forget that Reebok reportedly offered LeBron more money than any other company coming out of high school, but he spurned them.

All I’m saying is this: If Reebok does spend big bucks on Wall, the first order of business should be getting him in some sort of viral video where he jumps over the EasyTone girl and dunks. I’ll wait for my check, Reebok.

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