Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova isn’t on the shortlist of players most NBA fans would list as a superstar—unless, of course, that fan shares Delly’s homeland: Australia. Sure, he didn’t get drafted back in 2013. Sure, he’s not exactly the league’s top scorer. However, he won a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, and the Bucks have him on a $38 million, four-year contract. Not too shabby.
On the world’s smallest continent, Dellavedova is big, making him the perfect ambassador. After all, Australia has more than 24 million residents and, from the number of photographers and fans that turned out to witness a recent visit back to Australia by Dellavedova, most all of them love him.
Dellavedova has also found love from the world’s graphic-design community through an effort with online logo design house 99designs, which has an Australian chief exec, Patrick Llewellyn. The pair met at barbecues in Llewellyn’s backyard when Dellavedova was playing for a nearby college. Once Delly started to get closer to fame, Llewellyn’s company put the call out to fans to create a logo for the rising star.
“We bonded over home cooked meals, Aussie rules and basketball,” says Llewellyn. “Over time our conversations and catch ups evolved into discussions surrounding business,” Llewellyn said, according to the Australian Financial Review. “It was a natural progression.”
Llewellyn helped Dellavedova post a job on the 99designs platform that requested designers to make a logo for him that, as the ad noted, showed him as a “hard worker … always trying to improve.” He also requested that his nickname, Delly, and imagery related to Australia be included. More than 220 designs came in from 61 designers.
“Every athlete should have their own brand,” said Llewellyn, according to the Australian Financial Review. “Social media and the Internet allows direct two-way relationships with fans so having a visually recognizable brand is important.”
The winning design came from an Australian and has “Delly” in the shape of the country and Dellavedova’s hometown of Maryborough signaled with a small basketball. With that, the basketball star is now building his brand big-time. Dellavedova’s most significant branding effort has been with China’s Peak Sport, with which he has signed a three-year deal. The duo introduced a pair of sneakers last year and Dellavedova just visited the Philippines for the brand’s big store opening there. Delly found big love there, too, as he sat through a basketball game there, lauded the quickness of Filipino players, and cut the ribbon at the new store.
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“I was coming down the escalator [to the stage] and there on the big screen was a huge picture of my logo and Peak next to it, and just people everywhere,” Dellavedova told the Financial Review. “I couldn’t quite believe it.”
Peak, of course, is not alone. Delly has his name on some coffee and he’s done work with Spalding and Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing. Next year, he’ll launch new shoes, the Delly 2. Peak had also wanted to sign an athlete who is involved with the nation’s national team, which may explain part of the reason Dellavedova has already said he’ll play in basketball’s version of the World Cup next year.
Guess who was wearing the national team’s brand-spanking-new Peak Sports uniform top to celebrate next year’s big tournament? None other than Dellavedova. He may only be 26, but he’s got this branding game down.