Hip-hop superstar Jay-Z has teamed up with Puma to become the apparel brand’s President Of Basketball Operations. In his new role, the rapper is expected to assist with the brand’s creative direction and product as well as recruit both basketball players and fellow artists to Puma, ESPN reports.
Puma and Jay-Z first collaborated a year ago when the label provided shoes, shirts and other merchandise for the rapper’s 4:44 Tour.
“We’ve been working with Roc Nation for quite some time. They’ve been great partners to us for several years. We’ve done many different deals with many different ambassadors,” Adam Petrick, Puma’s global director of brand and marketing, told Complex, adding that the President of Basketball Operations gig “was something [Jay-Z] wanted to be a part of.”
The recruitment of Jay-Z, fresh from dropping new album Everything Is Love with Beyoncé during the pair’s On The Run II tour, follows news that the label inked three of the biggest NBA draft-eligible players – expected Number One pick DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Zhaire Smith – to endorsement deals, marking the shoe brand’s most high-profile NBA rookie deals since Puma signed Vince Carter in 1998. The brand also agreed to a lifetime deal with New York Knicks great Walt “Clyde” Frazier, the shoe’s first ever endorser in 1973.
Over the past five years, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation has expanded into sports management, with Kevin Durant and Jeremy Lin among his clients. Roc Nation’s Rihanna is also a Puma ambassador.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé are set to kick off the North American leg of the On The Run II tour at the First Energy Stadium in Cleveland, OH on 25 July. The 29-date trek is set to run through to 4 October, when it wraps with a show at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA.
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