Nike Basketball has commanded the stage for well over a decade in the sport and continues to be a dominant force. The brand's emblematic Swoosh has graced the courts beneath the feet of titans like LeBron James and Kevin Durant. These players didn't just define their era but have also, in many ways, defined Nike's legacy in the sport.
However, even the most iconic dynasties see a changing of the guard, a transition from the established titans to the up-and-coming warriors. While the echoes of LeBron's dunks and Durant's game-winners are still fresh, Nike is already gazing towards the horizon, anticipating the next big wave. With young prodigies like Ja Morant and Sabrina Ionescu already showcasing their talent and getting signature lines of performance sneakers, it's evident that the brand is setting the stage for a new era.
The dawn of the 2023-2024 NBA season exemplifies this transition most emphatically. Nike's announcement of signing 13 fresh rookies underscores their commitment to this new generation. The likes of Keyonte George with his sharpshooting, the towering Victor Wembanyama, and the dynamic Thompson siblings, Amen and Ausar, herald the ushering in of a new era. Other signings include Anthony Black, Kobe Brown, Bilal Coulibaly, Dereck Lively II, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Brandon Miller, Julian Strawther, and Cason Wallace.
It's more than just signing new players; it's about recognizing that the future of basketball is in the hands of these young athletes. The old guard, with all their glorious achievements, is passing the torch, and Nike is ensuring it's handed to those with the brightest potential.
Below, we’ve highlighted each player Nike has just signed to its roster. Keep it locked to our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app to stay updated on the latest releases, raffles, news, and more in the sneaker and streetwear world.
Images via Sports Illustrated
Anthony Black - Orlando Magic, Guard
Hailing from the University of Arkansas, guard Anthony Black set records in his NCAA career as the only player in Arkansas history to reach more than 450 points, 180 rebounds, and 140 assists in a season.
Kobe Brown - Los Angeles Clippers, Forward
During his senior year at the University of Missouri, Kobe Brown became the third Division I player in the last 25 years to score 30 points in back-to-back games against nationally ranked teams.
Bilal Coulibaly - Washington Wizards, Guard
Unlike many players in this 2023 class, Bilal Coulibaly came from overseas and played for the Metropolitans 92 in the French LNB Pro A league alongside Victor Wembanyama.
Keyonte George - Utah Jazz, Guard
Keyonte George scored 506 points in his freshman season at Baylor University, the second most in school history. On top of this, he holds the record for most 20-point games in the program’s history.
Jordan Hawkins - New Orleans Pelicans, Guard
Jordan Hawkins made the second-most three-pointers in a single season when he played at the University of Connecticut and helped the program win the 2023 NCAA National Title.
Dereck Lively II - Dallas Mavericks, Center
Coming ranked #1 overall in ESPN’s High School Basketball Player list in the class of 2022, Dereck Lively II is primed to make an impact for the Pelicans. During his freshman year at Duke University, he blocked 82 shots, the second most in a single season for a Duke freshman.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper - Dallas Mavericks, Forward
Born in Canada, Oliver-Maxence Prosper ended his high school career playing at the NBA’s Latin American Academy. Following this, Prosper graced the NCAA courts for both Clemson and Marquette.
Brandon Miller - Charlotte Hornets, Forward
Miller is the first conference player ever to win SEC Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, and SEC Tournament MVP in the same season when he suited up for the University of Alabama.
Amen Thompson - Houston Rockets, Forward
One-half of the Thompson twins alongside Ausar, Amen skipped his senior season to play with Overtime Elite with his brother and averaged 16.4 PPG, 5.9 APG, and 5.9 RPG during the 2022-23 season.
Ausar Thompson - Detroit Pistons, Forward
Ausar Thompson was named the regular-season and finals MVP of the Overtime Elite league and, like his brother, skipped his senior year to play in this newly formed organization.
Julian Strawther - Denver Nuggets, Forward
Representing Puerto Rico on the international level, Julian Strawther played at Gonzaga for his three years in the NCAA. During this time, he averaged 10.9 PPG with a 48.4% shooting percentage.
Cason Wallace - Oklahoma City Thunder, Guard
During high school, Cason Wallace earned two separate Player of the Year honors in Texas. He also ranked among the NCAA leaders in assists per game, assist-to-turnover ratio, and steals per game once he entered the collegiate realm.
Victor Wembanyama - San Antonio Spurs
The brightest star and biggest name out of this 2023 class, Wemby has been rocking Nike sneakers since his days in France’s LNB Pro A and is one of the faces of Nike’s “Greater Than” (GT) performance basketball sneakers.