Ways Jay-Z Could Help Puma Redefine the Basketball Brand

Puma recently announced rapper and entrepreneur Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has been named creative director of basketball operations. What could this mean for the brand? The company already has a lot of star power behind it, but Jay-Z’s involvement could bring Puma to a new level.

Here’s how Jay-Z could help Puma redefine the basketball brand.

JAY-Z performing

Jay-Z | Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The sportswear company decided to re-enter the basketball sneaker market for the first time in 20 years. They’re even celebrating with a new Twitter handle, @PUMAHoops. Puma has some stiff competition, with sneaker brands Nike and Adidas already dominating the market.

Jay-Z has plenty of experience when it comes to the sports world. Back in 2004, he became part owner of the Brooklyn Nets, reportedly investing $1 million in the team. He later sold his stake in 2013 and went on to represent professional athletes at sports agency Roc Nation Sports. Forbes estimates his stake was worth roughly $350,000.

Jay-Z’s new role with Puma

What will Jay-Z’s role with Puma entail? Although some reports say he was named president of basketball operations, a spokesman for Puma told The Washington Post this is not his official title. According to an email sent to The Washington Post, the rapper will be responsible for managing the creative and marketing sides of the basketball shoe line. Said Puma spokesman Adam Petrick, “In this capacity he will be overseeing creative strategy, creative marketing, and product design.”

Petrick describes Jay-Z as a perfect fit for the company. “Since 1973 the sport of basketball has transcended the court and Puma basketball will blend the influences of performance, fashion, music and culture. Jay-Z is the perfect partner to help us reenter the category,” said Petrick.

As part of the company’s basketball shoe relaunch, it also extended endorsement deals to projected first-round NBA picks Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, and Zhaire Smith. This is the first time Puma has inked an endorsement deal with an NBA player since signing Vince Carter in 1998, reports GQ. The company also announced New York Knicks legend, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, scored a lifetime deal with Puma.

Kylie Jenner in Puma

Kylie Jenner in Puma | Kylie Jenner via Instagram

This is hardly the first time Puma is handing over the creative reins to a celebrity. Other stars collaborating with the company include singers Rihanna, Selena Gomez, and The Weeknd. Reality star Kylie Jenner and rappers Meek Mill and Big Sean also signed collaboration deals with Puma.

More surprises from Jay-Z

There have been plenty of surprises coming from the rapper and his wife. Jay-Z and Beyoncé also surprised fans by releasing a new album titled Everything is Love. The record was released on streaming service Tidal under “The Carters.” They also posted a new video, which features the couple performing in the Louvre museum.

Jay-Z, who was born in 1969, could help redefine the Puma brand by making it more appealing to not only younger shoppers who are fans of rap music, fashion, and culture, but also older shoppers. In addition, we wouldn’t be surprised if Beyoncé joined the creative team at some point in an effort to get women on board with the basketball shoe. Only time will tell what impact Jay-Z will have, but it will likely be a good one for Puma’s bottom line.

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