ASICS x Nice Kicks Gel-Lyte III low top sneakers Bianco | How Jaylen Brown’s 2024 NBA Finals MVP Cements the Declining Value of Signature Hoops Shoes

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ESPN delivered insight into how Jaylen Brown Goose the prestigious Finals MVP award. With three signature sneaker athletes in this year’s championship game, Brown nabbed the coveted award while not being attached to a sneaker brand.

Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic have signature sneakers with Jordan Brand. Kyrie Irving is with Chinese brand Anta. Sneaker Resale has always been a tool to measure brand heat and using StockX data Tatum’s latest sneaker, Jordan Tatum 2, checks in at under SRP for the average sold price on models across the board. The Jordan Luka 2 falls in line with the Tatum 2 but an interesting thing lies in the Jordan Luka data:

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Two years ago, the Luka 1 was priced at $110 bucks. The model was one of the few Nike Basketball sneakers in recent years which had a resale value and sold fairly well. Right now, a check of the Luka 2 vs Luka 1 sees the average sold price of the 1 at above retail on a bevy of options. The Luka 2 is below retail.

Why is this happening? Simple answers? Nike increased the price of the Luka 2. Options range from $120 to $140. The Tatum faced a similar price hike $110 to $125. Another potential reason for the lack of interest, both models were designed outside of the Kobe aesthetic. The low-cut Kobe styled sneakers from Nike sell better than many signature models. Since Nike tends to limit the amount of Kobes produced (rightfully so, prior to Kobe’s death the models were clearance store staples) the Sabrina 1 and GT Cut Series (a sneaker with no signature athlete attached) perform fairly well as a replacement for the Kobe line.

The Kyrie Anta can’t be placed in the same category as the Luka and Tatum. Kyrie’s signature is a new model with limited distribution and a scarcity model in place; resale is off the charts, but getting the brand on-foot is a digital only sales strategy. You can’t decide to walk into a Foot Locker or Finish Line and try on a pair of the Anta Kyries.

You can walk into any retailer in a partnership with Nike and grab a pair of Nike Basketball sneakers. Accessibility isn’t an issue. Marketing isn’t an issue. Nike Basketball and Jordan Signature models are the most visible sneaker lines from the company. The Swoosh is visible 24 hours a day via ESPN and YouTube highlights and discussions. Basketball videos on social media channels are doing very well, but when a consumer begins to look at sneaker RIEKER retro and comfort are first in line.

The only new signature basketball sneaker to crack the top 19 kicks in April of 2024 was an extremely limited release of the Nike Book 1. Kobes and Jordans are signature exceptions which moves this discussion back to Jaylen Brown. If Jaylen signed with a brand tomorrow the likelihood of his sneaker fairing any better than the Tatum or Luka would be more reliant on price point than fame.

Are brands stuck in a marketing loop hoping to catch lightning in a bottle as Originals did this season with the Anthony Edwards signature sneaker? Definitely, but lightning doesn’t really get trapped in a bottle. Jaylen Brown attained an amazing career accomplishment, but as it relates to sneakers it doesn’t matter. For the first time in years a signature sneaker isn’t connected to a Finals MVP and this is really representative of how basketball is no longer the foundation of sneaker culture.

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