Less than a month ago, the idea of Nike giving Jeremy Lin his own shoe was completely laughable. Before his breakout game Feb. 4 against the New Jersey Nets, Lin had scored only 32 points in the nine games he had appeared in for the New York Knicks. He hadn’t even stepped onto the court for 13 of the team’s first 22 matchups.
Then, of course, he became the toast of New York and a worldwide phenomenon, rising up from his brother’s couch to seemingly save Gotham and strike a pose for underdogs everywhere (though it’s hard to imagine too many situations where a Harvard grad is considered an underdog). With all that love coming his way, marketers were suddenly calling. And Nike was apparently was early to the phone, especially since they had signed Lin to a deal back in 2010. Now it was time for their payday.
In the wake of last week's early sighting, Nike started to sell “Jeremy Lin-themed shoes” in the New York Knicks' team colors, in time to be worn by Lin last weekend. They can be created by fans online for $130 a pair, based on the basketball sneaks (Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low) the brand built especially for the rising star. Just don't consider it Nike's official Lin shoe — yet.
"It's not a signature line but a version of the shoe that he's been wearing this season," a spokesman told Reuters.
DrJays.com points out that it makes sense that the company took an existing shoe and adapted it. “They obviously didn’t have a sneaker developed for Lin a month ago,” the site notes. “So by creating his own Hyperfuse for him, they’re able to capitalize off his sudden success very quickly.” The site notes, however, that Nike researchers are likely “already in the lab cooking up a sneaker for Lin.”
Nike may have not given Lin his own signature line just yet, but the company did release a “Linsanity” line of clothes in the last couple of weeks that are available at Foot Locker stores. Lin has plenty of other possible endorsement deals to consider as well.
"Soft drinks, waters, fast food, video games, personal care, autos ... he should have an endorsement with companies in every one of those categories,” Ben Sturner, CEO and founder at New York's Leverage Agency told Yahoo! Sports’ PostGame.com.
"He's a smart guy, and he'll pick blue chip companies." The Linsanity continues.