Jay-Z is having a hell of a June. First he dropped a surprise album with Beyoncé, which, yeah, is a pretty big deal. And now he’s bringing his stylistic process to the worlds of fashion and sports by partnering up with Puma.
Jay was just named president of the brand’s new-and-improved basketball operations, as reported by Complex and confirmed to Esquire by Puma. This is major, and not just for the rapper/entrepreneur; though Puma had an undeniable hoops heyday years ago, it hasn’t had an active basketball division recently. That’s changing as of today.
Puma will be tapping Jay-Z for his highly respected perspective on company-wide decisions, such as art design, player partnerships, and overall direction of the brand. In addition, the company signed some of the NBA’s top draft prospects for this year, including DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, and Zhaire Smith. This combination of a cultural icon and a wave of new athletes is a substantial way to relaunch the dormant division. And considering Puma’s stepping back in with Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, going big is the only way to go.
To celebrate, Puma launched some iconic sneakers to mark its foray back into basketball. The shoes are a limited-edition pair of Clydes, which honor both the shoe’s namesake, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, and his new lifetime Puma contract. Only 73 pairs will be made, and you can bet they’ll be hard to score. But with constant sneaker-world competition—plus the addition of a huge name like Jay—there are sure to be more where those came from.