2019’s Projected No. 2 NBA Draft Pick: Ja Morant Inks Deal With Nike
BEAVERTON, OREGON — The 2019 NBA draft will be held on June 20, 2019. It will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. National Basketball Association teams will take turns selecting amateur United States college basketball players and other eligible players, including international players.
Projected No. 2 NBA Draft pick Temetrius Jamel “Ja” Morant aka Ja Morant is now part of the Nike family.
The 19-year-old South Carolina – native, who is projected by hoops analysts to go No. 2 overall — announced he has signed a multiyear, multimillion dollar footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Nike. The contract was agreed to in advance of the May 14 draft lottery, according to industry sources.
“All my life, my parents worked for a check. Now I’m proud to say I work for the check. #Nike#NikeBasketball,” Morant wrote on Instagram.
Duke‘s Zion Williamson is the presumptive No. 1 pick.
The guard played college ball at Murray State last year. Those in the know believe he will be drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, who landed the No. 2 pick at the NBA Draft Lottery on May 14. In addition to his contract with the Swoosh, Morant is projected to earn $39.56 million over a four-year rookie scale contract length, according to ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks.
Morant would make $8.72 million during his rookie season, with 5 percent raises the following two seasons. The final year of his rookie contract would see a dramatic 26 percent raise, to $12.01 million.
Williamson has yet to sign with a brand. He’s worn shoes and apparel from various brands over the years, including Nike, Adidas and Under Armour.
Both the No. 1 and No. 2 pick holders — the New Orleans Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies, respectively — are smaller-market teams. Analysts say this could hurt Williamson or Morant’s chances of picking up additional sponsorship deals.
Nike is in the midst of a $1 billion, eight-year league partnership as the official jersey and apparel outfitter, that for the first time features a brand’s logo along the NBA uniforms in games. Over 67 percent of the league wore Nike sneakers last season, with another 7 percent wearing the company’s Jordan Brand subsidiary on court.
Nike currently boasts five signature shoes for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Paul George, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, with Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s anticipated Zoom Freak 1 shoe launching this summer.
The brand is also exceptionally high on its rising young core of Ben Simmons, Luka Doncic, De’Aaron Fox, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker and Kyle Kuzma. Doncic, Booker and Kuzma will all be sneaker free agents later this fall, with Nike looking to re-sign all three.
Morant‘s father, Tee, was a high school basketball teammate of Hall of Fame guard Ray Allen at Hillcrest High in Dalzell, South Carolina. The two remained close over the years, with Allen helping to provide guidance and advice at different points of the younger Morant‘s recent rise through the college ranks. Allen began his 18-year NBA career with Nike, before being hand-picked as one of the first five players to represent Michael Jordan‘s “Team Jordan” roster of athletes.
Rather than sit through a series of presentations and meetings with prospective agents before declaring for the NBA draft, the Morant family trusted Allen‘s advice to sign with his longtime agent Jim Tanner. As president of Tandem Sports + Entertainment, Tanner has also represented several additional Hall of Fame and All-Star level players.
Photos Credit: Morant’s Instagram
Some reporting via ESPN