Nike's latest batch of new signees is a tad more unique this year.
Nike is the global leader in sports apparel and a huge portion of that is there presence in American football. Typically, they are able to sign deals with the most prominent players in the NFL to keep their advantage over competitors.
With the draft concluding this past weekend, all of their newest signees were announced. Even though they did sign star running back Saquon Barkley, the real story here is Shaquem Griffin. Griffin is a linebacker from the University of Central Florida (who would contend that they won the National Championship last year) and he made headlines at the Combine with a great performance. Oh, and Griffin only has one hand making him the first one-handed player to be drafted.
Sometimes you will hear stories of physically handicapped players making it professionally, but having one drafted in the NFL at a position where you need your hands makes this the most unique. The only other instance I can think of a prominent one-handed athlete is Jim Abbott in the MLB. He may have only had one hand, but he actually threw a no-hitter at one point.
Nike realizes this unique opportunity and announced that they have signed Griffin. While we do not know the monetary value of this player endorsement, Nike will have the ability to utilize Griffin to send strong messages about their product. For instance, their famous motto "Just Do It" applies to Griffin more-so than other athletes.
We should expect to see Griffin in a lot of marketing campaigns over the next few years due to his inspirational and improbable story. He is a guy that most people will root for despite the jersey he is wearing. Nike and Griffin's other endorsers should be able to make him into a national superstar.
1. With all the competition among sports apparel companies, the players they sign are vital to their success. Nike was able to get the biggest off-the-field storyline signed to their brand, creating exclusiveness from their competition.
2. This sponsorship will allow Nike to put branding on one of the most recognizable rookies of this year's draft, increasing their signage and sales opportunities.
3. Nike's message is that their products make anything possible and they will have a walking example of that with Griffin. That congruency will lead to easier transference and association between the two.
4. While most companies are not Nike, you can still think of brands or people you can partner with that exemplify your message like in this case.
5. Sports usually creates feelings of animosity amongst players, teams, and fans, but Nike has chosen a partner that will win over fans everywhere he goes.
Check out some pictures of Shaquem Griffin and Nike's products below.
Written by: James Campbell
James Campbell is currently in his Senior year at the University of Michigan. In May of 2018, he will receive his BA degree in Sport Management. Throughout his time at Michigan, he has worked with Detroit City FC, MiLife Sport & Social Club, and USA Hockey. - @Jimmy10Campbell