Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum revealed that he has his own Jordan signature shoe on the way very shortly.
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Speaking on the Knuckleheads podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, Tatum alluded to a release coming but didn't give a timeframe of when the shoes would be dropping.
"I can't tell ya'll exactly when, but it's on the way," Tatum said.
Everyone dreams of having their own signature shoe, few get to realize that dream! Young Tat will get know that feeling soon!! Me and @21Blackking already on the special list!! Y'all gon cop them @jaytatum0 joints whenever they drop right?! @PlayersTribune #Knuckleheads ✊🏾😎✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/DGpbIeNcdF- Quentin Richardson (@QRich) December 8, 2021
The fact that Tatum is getting a signature shoe shouldn't come as a surprise, he's young and marketable and plays in a major NBA market like Boston. Upon initially signing with Jordan Brand in 2019, Tatum was tapped to lead the flagship model, but the news of a signature could be a part of a broader extension to that deal.
Over the past couple of seasons, Tatum has worn a wide variety of Air Jordan 34, Air Jordan 35, and Air Jordan 36 Player Exclusives, most of which have a special meaning to the Celtics forward.
Jayson Tatum's newest Air Jordan 36 PE celebrates one of his son Deuce's favorite books - "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" - which they read together over FaceTime when Tatum was in the NBA Bubble. pic.twitter.com/2ZcGfXhHpI- Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) December 8, 2021
But, given that overall sales of performance basketball shoes are down, how will a Tatum signature shoe sell?
According to numbers from market research firm NPD, basketball performance sales now represent less than four percent of the athletic shoe market, a massive drop from their 13 percent market share in 2014. The fervor for performance basketball models has declined since we last saw Michael Jordan in an NBA game.
Couple that with the fact that basketball performance shoe sales are also down roughly 13 percent compared to the same period a year ago, which makes it the fourth consecutive year that aggregate basketball shoe sales have declined.
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Tatum getting a potential signature will follow the Air Zion 1, the first signature model for Pelicans star Zion Williamson. The New Orleans forward reportedly signed a five-year, $75 million deal with the brand back in 2019 as well.
Getting a return on that kind of investment is highly unlikely, according to Matt Powell from NPD.
"I don't see how the brand can earn this investment out in terms of merchandise sales," Powell said. "Brands typically spend about 11 percent of sales on marketing. So in order to justify $15 million a year, his shoes would have to sell $136 million at wholesale."
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It's for this reason that Jordan Brand has been scaling back the output of signature shoes - they discontinued Carmelo Anthony's line after the 13th iteration in 2017, and are producing Chris Paul's in much smaller numbers. Russell Westbrook, who initially had a lifestyle line with the brand, is currently on the fourth model of his 'Why Not' signature series.
Times have also changed for the consumer, now kids care more what a player wore to a game, rather than what he wore in a game. For them, off-court is the new on-court.
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