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Nikola Jokić Signs Signature Shoe Deal With 361°

The reigning Finals MVP looks to expand his marketing profile with a new deal making him the global face of Chinese footwear company 361°. 

Following up on a NBA Championship run earlier this summer, two-time league MVP Nikola Jokić couldn’t have asked for better timing to be a sneaker free agent. 

As interest from several brands throughout the industry unfolded throughout the fall, “The Joker” now has his new brand partner in place, signing a multi-year signature footwear and apparel endorsement with Chinese brand 361°. 

“The deal is done,” said Jokic. 

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After first debuting and donning 361° shoes this past Wednesday, Jokić will continue to wear the 361° Big3 Future High during the regular season. The shoe features a carbon fiber woven upper, full-length support plate and elevated foam cushioning platform. While Jokic’s size 16 pairs are custom made as a high top, a variation of the model will soon come to retail.

The brand is teaming up with global sneaker marketplace Kicks Crew to make the low-cut edition of the Big3 Future in the same colorway worn by Jokić available this week, launching for $160 retail on December 28th on KicksCrew.com.

As part of the long-term deal, the design process of creating Jokić’s first signature shoe is already underway. The multi-year contract was negotiated by Excel Sports

“We’ve already been putting the time and work together to bring my first signature shoe to life,” said Jokić. “It’s been a fun journey, like how I watch my horses and their races play out.”

Originally founded in 2003, 361° got its start in China as a running shoe manufacturer, before eventually extending into additional performance categories like basketball.

To this point in his NBA career, Jokić had been under contract with Nike, wearing player exclusive colorways of team models.

Throughout his MVP seasons, he famously shied away from an onslaught of traditional endorsement deals and brand campaigns.

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images)

As he entered sneaker free agency this fall, the timing also coincided with Jokić finally taking a leap towards looking to ramp up his marketing profile. Just recently, he starred in a series of commercials for Hotels.com.

Throughout the fall, 361° quickly emerged as a serious suitor, presenting Jokić with a comprehensive signature shoe deal offer, as the company looked to pry away the dominant center from Nike.

The brand currently also counts Jokić’s Denver teammate Aaron Gordon as a featured brand ambassador, along with Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. 

“[Aaron Gordon] influenced a lot,” Jokic told media recently in New York. “I talked with AG about everything, and he said to me that they are really good and quick and really listen to you. I am really happy with the relationship that I have right now with them.”

The longtime 361° brand slogan, “One Degree Beyond,” was founded under the aspirational premise of pushing ahead.

“They are really trying to make the shoes as comfortable as possible,” added Jokic. “They are asking me after every practice, after every game. I really like the communication that we have right now.”

Today, 361°’s global presence spans continents and features products for a variety of sport categories available in more than 6,000 stores worldwide. Kicks Crew will serve as the priority online platform for consumers in the US, as 361° looks to reach a stateside audience beyond its existing China consumer base.

As 361° and the 28 year-old star center begin to map out their partnership ahead, Jokić is looking forward to sharing his story and future products with a global audience of fans and players.

“Together, we’re going to bring more passion to the game in ways people have never seen and share it with people worldwide,” added Jokić. 

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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.