Recently, Rajon Rondo signed with Chinese sporting goods giant, Anta- the company will be mass producing Rondo's first signature sneaker, the RR1. Rondo is in very rarefied air in two categories in regards to this deal. There are only two other NBA players that are sponsored by Anta; Indiana Pacers big Luis Scola, and former colleague Kevin Garnett.
The second distinguishing category? Athlete with a signature line. Rajon Rondo, the budding fashion icon, has joined that rank with his Anta deal and will play a big role in designing both the shoe and the fashion line that goes with it. The downside for his domestic market Celtics fans is that this line is only available in China.
Rondo, who's popularity is skyrocketing globally, has been largely surprised by all of this. On his first world tour in 2012 - sponsored by Red Bull - he was getting reactions in Manilla the likes of which had not been seen since the Rolling Stones rolled through. His popularity in China is starting to approach Kobe Bryant levels which is really saying something as Bryant is the most popular of all the NBA stars with a presence in the Chinese market.
And he's all ours, Boston. For the domination of the international sneaker game alone... we have to keep him right?
If the sneakers and international popularity aren't reasons enough to sway you to keep our All-Star point guard well beyond 2015, I don't know what will. If you don't think he's the perfect athlete for this market, please check out his quotes from the sneaker story that ran today on the Boston Herald's website:
In regards to the how involved he will be with the product that bares his name:
“I don’t know if guys like LeBron help (design) it. I worked with my guy every day. It’s for the consumer, it’s affordable and it’s something I would wear myself. I’m not going to put anything on that I don’t like.”On brand ambassadorship:
“What better way to build your brand than going global?”In regards to the timing of him getting his own shoe:
I love this guy. 100% worth the international flight I'll be taking to wait at the Foot Locker in Beijing the day the RR1 comes out.
Follow Padraic O'Connor on Twitter @padraic_oconnor
Source: Mark Murphy; Boston Herald