By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor, [email protected]
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter was named Creative Director for Puma’s Basketball apparel division.
On June 18, Carter was initially reported by ESPN as the new “President of Basketball Operations,” but Puma later clarified his title as “creative director.”
“I can confirm that according to his deal with Puma, Jay-Z’s official designation is Creative Director,” Puma Global Director of Brand/Marketing Adam Petrick told ESPN. “I referred to him (earlier) today by an informal designation.”
Though a popular shoe brand in the U.S., Puma never developed much of a presence in the basketball industry. According to ESPN, Puma had only inked one endorsement deal with an NBA star in the last 20 years and that was Vince Carter back in 1998. Now, with Jay-Z in the mix, Puma has already signed DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Zhaire Smith, three of the top lottery players expected to be selected in this year’s NBA Draft.
“We’re making a serious statement about the entry of the category, that we want to be a performance brand, but then also very culturally focused,” said Petrick, as reported by Complex.
As creative director, Jay-Z will be expected lead all creativity in marketing for the division; according to ESPN, he will also help recruit players for endorsements, as well as in product design.
Though Jay-Z’s director role with Puma is new, his relationship with the shoe company isn’t. The Brooklyn-raised rapper owns a sports agency called Roc Nation Sports, which has negotiated several endorsement deals with Puma on behalf the of the agency’s NFL and MLB clients. Jay-Z even signed an endorsement deal with Puma during his album tour last year. Rihanna, also signed to Roc Nation management, has served as Creative Director for Puma’s Women division since 2014.