Click here for updates on the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation at the University of Arizona


Deandre Ayton inks historic Puma endorsement deal

Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Freshman Deandrew Ayton 360 slam dunks during the Red-Blue contest on Friday, October 20.

Nike, Adidas, and Jordan have reigned supreme on and off courts for decades in many countries, especially when it comes to shoe branding. The competing companies have been mainstays on legendary players and icons for the last three decades. 

Michael Jordan has his line, LeBron James at Nike and the likes of Tracy McGrady and James Harden have been the face of Adidas this century.

The traditional mold is being challenged like never before as Puma, the longstanding soccer brand and outfitter, is making recent Arizona Wildcat Deandre Ayton the face of its new basketball venture alongside potential top three pick in Marvin Bagley III from Duke. 

The two young phenoms weren’t the only additions to Puma Basketball, as the German company named Jay-Z the head of its operations, overseeing the brands genesis as it takes on a brand-new sport.

Ayton sat down for an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report alongside Bagley and broke down his decision in going with the lesser known company.

“Nike is Nike. Adidas is Adidas. I’ve played in their circuits and stuff like that, but now it’s a business. You don’t want just product. You’re not a kid anymore. You’re really trying to get bank. That’s about it,” Ayton said to Bleacher Report.

Ayton also shared his desire that the draw of being a centerpiece of a international brand was something that almost too good to pass up. He said that part of Puma’s pitch included him building an international brand, which the Bahamas native liked.

Arizona's Deandre Ayton (13) lays in the ball uncontested in the Arizona-USC Championship game at the 2018 Pac-12 Tournament on Saturday, March 10 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

The 7-foot-1 prospect also said that he hopes building his brand will allow him to establish basketball camps and give kids an opportunity to play ball.  

     RELATED: Deandre Ayton has 'phenomenal' workout with Suns, says 'I know I'm going No. 1'

Even through all of the goodwill, Ayton’s alpha-dog nature was rooted in this decision, as he shared about the alluring attraction that Puma presented when it offered him a chance to be the face of company at the age of 19. 

Competition is something that has always driven and defined Ayton on the court, and it looks to define him off of it as well.

Puma has been irrelevant in the American basketball landscape over the last two decades, but building the re-brand around Jay-Z, Ayton and Bagley will certainly turn some heads. 

Bagley’s deal is said to be one of the richest for a rookie since Kevin Durant. Ayton’s deal figures to be right in that area, possibly higher according to multiple major outlets.

Follow David Skinner on Twitter

Share this article

UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (10/18)
282 0 0.0%
Total (8/4)
51,354 2,418 4.7%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from
Updated October 18, 2020