The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown remains a sneaker free agent, which is a big deal in today’s NBA circles.
Brown’s deal with Adidas expired in 2021 and he has been rocking several types of shoes in games this season. Brown is taking the decision seriously, as he does with every other career decision.
The enjoyable part for Brown is choosing which shoe to wear for each game. One day it could be Nikes, then New Balances, then perhaps Under Armour or Converse.
“Yeah I feel free; I feel free,” Brown said. “I think that’s how things have been over the last, I don’t know how long, you’ve got to rock one brand and stick with it. But it’s a new day and age and me and my whole brand is different. We’re trying to shift the mold of the athlete and the way things are done, so for me, I’m enjoying my freedom right now and we’ll see what happens down the line.”
Brown said he has had negotiations with competing shoe companies, but nothing to his preference.
“I’ve had numerous conversations with people and everything kind of tends to be the same,” Brown said. “Fit this athlete in this slot and if it’s not him, then we’ll fit another athlete into that slot. You really don’t get nothing out of it. So for me, I’ve been trying to push for some type of individualism, you know what I mean?
“If you want to sign Jaylen, you have to look at what I do off the court as well and try to magnify that platform as well, whether it’s my foundation, whether it’s social activism, charity, whatever. That needs to be included. These brands, they talk but they don’t want to include anything that I want to do off the court. It sounds good but when it really comes down to it, they don’t really care.”
Brown has created his own “7uice” Foundation and clothing line, and when asked if he could consider creating his own sneaker, similar to former NBA player Stephon Marbury, he was intrigued.
“I keep an open mind,” he said, smiling. “It’s an idea that you think about but right now I’m still in the midst of seeing if somebody cares about what goes on outside of basketball and right now, nobody does. [My own shoe] might be something that’s part of the plan. We’ll see.”
Several other shoe companies have approached Brown, a rising talent, about his services. But the decision is not simple. It’s far more than just wearing cool sneakers on a nightly basis or filming commercials.
“Over the course of this season, I’ve had some meetings, some talks and my team has went back and forth and discussed and argued,” he said. “It’s been dope because a lot of people, they just see what you do on the court. And then off the court, they don’t understand how that whole world works as well. How hard it is to have a platform that stands for something and at the same time, have endorsements. That’s a conversation that doesn’t exist, they’d rather you just be non-controversial, smile, don’t say anything because it’s safe.
“All the athletes that I admire. They’re not that. Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]. The greats that I admire were outspoken and stood for something. It’s interesting to see they try to push the athlete to do the opposite.”