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Austin Reaves Signs Long-Term, Equity Extension With Rigorer 

After the successful launch of his AR 1 signature shoe, Austin Reaves has landed a new contract making him an equity partner of Rigorer. 

When Lakers wing Austin Reaves first signed a shoe deal with Rigorer towards the end of his rookie season, his announcement photo took place in a local Los Angeles gym. The deal made the undrafted 23-year-old player the Chinese company’s first NBA athlete endorser, marking an uphill climb for both ahead in the ever-competitive global sneaker game. 

A year later, Reaves had earned his role as a breakout all-around playmaker for the Lakers, was named a member of USA Basketball’s roster for the FIBA World Cup, and was launching his very own signature shoe with Rigorer in front of thousands during a frenzied event in the Philippines. 

Now, Reaves is locking in for the long-term with a new signature shoe deal extension with Rigorer. 

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The multi-year deal, negotiated by his agents Aaron Reilly and Reggie Berry at the AMR Agency, will earn Reaves north of seven figures per year on the deal, along with royalties from sales of his signature product. 

“I’m proud to continue this partnership with Rigorer,” said Reaves. “The team is incredible, and we’ve developed a signature shoe that I’m proud to put my name on, representing both high performance and accessibility. The team has welcomed me like family and I will always appreciate them for believing in me at this early stage of my career.”

Not only will Reaves continue to build out his signature AR series with the brand, but he will also become an equity partner of the overall Rigorer company. Reaves will claim a substantial amount of shares during each year of the deal. 

“As players, we’re aware of how the value of brands that we endorse and work with can really grow,” Reaves added. “To be able to enter into an equity partnership with Rigorer was a big deal for me, knowing that we can truly grow this company together going forward.”

(Photo by Nathaniel S.Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Rigorer launched in 2014, founded by former Chinese Basketball Association player Lin Chenyao. The 6’5” small forward began the company with a simple ethos — “from basketball players, to basketball players.” 

After establishing itself through an apparel business that focused first on basketball jerseys, tanks and uniforms for school programs and club teams throughout China, the company later launched footwear, just before landing Reaves as its first NBA athlete endorser. 

Adding Reaves not only as an endorser, but as an entrenched corporate partner, will drive the brand’s charging mantra even further. 

“We are very excited that Austin becomes a shareholder of Rigorer as part of this extension,” said Lin. “It shows long-term commitments from both parties to continue growing and elevating this company. Austin will be heavily involved in the product development process to help create great product for basketball players around the world. We’re looking forward to further establishing our company’s ‘from players to players’ philosophy together ahead.”

The foundation of their product process began with the launch of the AR 1 model. Already, the sides are working behind the scenes on the AR 2 and future signature Reaves product. Joining the NBA’s signature tier that includes only 26 active players wasn’t something Reaves took lightly.

“There’s not many people [that have one,] so when the opportunity presented itself, it was kind of a shock,” admitted Reaves.

To date, Rigorer has launched four colorways of the AR 1, including a red and blue accented “Stars and Stripes” themed edition while Reaves played for Team USA, and an ice cream-inspired pair just before in early August.

“I wanted to tell my life story through my shoes,” he said. “Ice cream, growing up, was me and my grandma’s thing. A couple days a week, we’d go to get ice cream and hang out.”

Along with a clean all-white pair, a more classic Lakers black away colorway dubbed “Showtime” launched at the start of the NBA season.

This week, the next colorway of the AR 1 will launch on Friday, December 8th. Nicknamed the “Milky Way,” the newest pair is styled in light purple with a fading clear outsole.

The low-top and sloping shoes feature his signature logo throughout, along with his name across the top of each tongue.

On the “Showtime” pair, there’s an added phrase along the inner collar, that Reaves yelled out after dropping 14 points during a 4th quarter run in the Lakers’ opening playoff game this past April in Memphis. 

“I’M HIM” 

“At first, I was kind of [unsure] about it,” Reaves laughed. “But it was a big part of my career. It was a staple for my career, and something that I’ll look back on in twenty years, where it was my first moment where everything started to really go well.”

After landing a long-term team extension with the Lakers this summer, the 25-year-old Reaves is excited to continue building out his path in the league. He’s also looking to continue learning all about the overall footwear business, as he expands on his global marketing profile with Rigorer.

“I wasn’t a huge sneakerhead growing up,” he said about growing up in Arkansas. “You’re in the middle of nowhere, and you kind of just wear what the team wears. The one shoe I did always want to wear was Kobes. He was my idol. Playing for the Lakers now and looking back on those memories, is super cool.”

As he builds out his own signature series as an equity partner with Rigorer, Reaves is looking forward to what’s to come as part of this new long-term extension. 

“I’m hoping for the same path that I want my basketball career to go,” beamed Reaves. “We feel like we have a really good opportunity to build something with a great company, and a bunch of guys that really represent the right things and want to build a great product. It’s really about getting better each year.”

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About The Author
Nick DePaula
Nick DePaula
Nick DePaula covers the footwear industry and endorsement deals surrounding the sporting landscape, with an emphasis on athlete and executive interviews. The Sacramento, California, native has been based in Portland, Oregon, for the last decade, a main hub of sneaker company headquarters. He’ll often argue that How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days is actually an underrated movie, largely because it’s the only time his Sacramento Kings have made the NBA Finals.