Nike is set to debut the PG1, the first signature shoe for NBA star Paul George, on an international stage this Thursday as George’s Indiana Pacers play the Denver Nuggets in London.
Called a collaboration between George and Nike shoe designer Tony Hardman, the PG1 is described as featuring "a distinctive forefoot strap anchored by Flywire cable loops providing a dynamic, contained feel, while a forefoot Zoom Air unit delivers low-profile, responsive cushioning."
Fewer than 1% of the brand’s professional athlete endorsers have had their own signature shoe, Nike notes: George becomes Nike Basketball’s fourth active signature athlete, and the 21st basketball player to receive a signature shoe in the sports apparel giant’s 44-year history.
Is it us, or is Nike suddenly pushing big-name celebrity endorsers a little more aggressively than it had in recent memory? Maybe it's just us, but in any case, the athletic shoe giant made news recently by signing the reigning No. 1 golfer in the world, Jason Day, to a contract. And just yesterday, Nike leaned on several big-name pro athletes as it continued to hype its self-lacing HyperAdapt shoe.
The athletic shoe game has always relied on celebrated pros to market shoes to us regular folks, so maybe this is all nothing new, but Nike also could be looking for some new energy to help it fight off competitors like Adidas and Under Armour. Nike has continued to be strong in basketball shoes even while Adidas has been surging, and UA's latest signature shoe with hoops superstar Stephen Curry stumbled out of the gate.
So, what else is interesting about this shoe? Well, sometimes we wonder how much an individual player's personality and interests translate to a shoe that was supposed a collaboration between the player and the shoe brand. From Nike's press release, we have this: "The PG1 2K colorway connects to George’s love of gaming and his status as cover athlete of the video game 'NBA 2K17'; the shoe features a unique sockliner [with George's face on it, no less]. A bobber-inspired lace lock serves as a special nod to his other favorite pastime, fishing."
Will the shoe be a hit? Hipper, edgier folks than us have the answer to that. If we're comparing talent on the court, George can't beat Curry. But maybe his shoe can.