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ENDORSEMENTS

Devin Booker Gets Creative with Sweetgreen

The Phoenix Suns’ standout joins Naomi Osaka as Sweetgreen’s newest athlete ambassador as the company seeks to shake up the fast food industry.

The Phoenix Suns are headed into the Western Conference Semifinals, and they’ll be thrilled to have Devin Booker back on the court for the series against Luka Donçić and the Dallas Mavericks. Thanks in part to his newest endorsement deal, Booker will be well-fueled for the increasingly intense competition.

California-based salad chain sweetgreen is leading the movement to reimagine fast food for future generations. To help further amplify that message, the company announced Booker as their second national athlete ambassador — following tennis star Naomi Osaka, who signed on with sweetgreen last year as its first athlete ambassador and its youngest-ever investor.

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The pair will be featured in the “Create Your Own” campaign, which is inspired by the most-ordered item on sweetgreen’s menu: the custom bowl. Both Osaka and Booker’s own custom bowls will also be available to purchase on the menu as well.

“Not only is Devin an incredible athlete, he’s driven by his values,” sweetgreen co-founder and chief brand officer Nathaniel Ru told Boardroom. “His Starting Five initiative [which supplies five $100,000 grants to youth-serving nonprofits in Arizona] really resonated with us.”

“Our goal is to introduce a powerful shift in the fast-food industry by working with icons like Devin and Naomi, who are challenging the status quo in their own industries,” Ru continued. “They both see food as essential to their training and overall physical and mental health, and they are investing in and partnering with brands that they believe in and that fit into their lifestyle.”

Devin Booker and Naomi Osaka for the “Create Your Own” campaign. (Image courtesy of sweetgreen)

The decision to begin working with athletes is an evolution of the company’s beginnings. Its owners were enormous music fans, so as the company took off, they looked to blend their interests with the Sweetlife Festival. The event ran from 2011-16 at Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion and featured headliners such as Kendrick Lamar, The Strokes, and Lana Del Ray. Food concessions were replaced with local restaurants as a way to connect community, culture, and food.

Through conversations with the musical acts, sweetgreen executives began to think through how they could expand their reach, tapping athletes to further progress their goal of reimagining the fast-food industry.

Ru was introduced to Osaka in 2020 and learned that she was already a fan of sweetgreen. Once their conversations shifted over to some of their shared values and beliefs, a partnership seemed inevitable. And sweetgreen aims to develop relationships and support its ambassadors in holistic ways. Last year, when Osaka withdrew from the French Open citing mental health concerns, sweetgreen was one of the companies that promptly and publicly supported her to take time away to address those matters.

“We were proud to be one of the first to support Naomi in her quest for mental health, and we saw first-hand the power in standing up for what you believe,” said Ru. “We’re a values-driven company. It’s how we have run our business since day one. We feel honored and grateful to have Naomi as part of the sweetgreen family, and we’re committed to supporting her in furthering the conversation around mental health.”

“Our newest campaign is a continuation of what we started with her last year,” he continued. “Both Naomi and Devin are leaders in their industries and help us speak to a younger generation about the importance of healthy eating.”

With Book on board, sweetgreen is ready for its next chapter. Here’s to hoping his hamstring stays as healthy as his salad selection.

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