Rookie center Nerlens Noel has tentatively agreed to an endorsement deal with Reebok, according to sources within the company.
The confirmation comes hours after Noel, best known for his dynamic shot-blocking skills and flat top haircut, was spotted at a photo shoot for the Reebok Q96 and Pumspective in Los Angeles.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the Canton, MA, based company has not issued an official statement. When reached on the phone earlier today, however, Noel confirmed that he has aligned himself with Reebok.
“I don’t think I’m just a prototypical big man,” Noel said when reached on the phone at the shoot. “I think I’ll be able to sell shoes.”
Noel, who was projected by many to be the top selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, went No. 6 to the New Orleans Pelicans, before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Jrue Holiday. A McDonald’s All-American in 2012, Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 2.1 steals per game in 24 games as a freshman at Kentucky, where he also picked up SEC Rookie of the Year and Freshman All-America honors.
He joins a Reebok Basketball team that includes Brooklyn Nets guard Jason Terry, Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas and Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson.
“Growing up, I liked a lot of old school shows like Fresh Prince and Martin,” Noel said. “And what they (Reebok) really want to do is bring it back to retro—like, I have a flat top. So going retro, with not only the shoe but even off-court style.”
Reebok’s signing of Noel is apparently just the beginning of a Reebok Basketball reboot. According to a source, the company is expected to announce an expanded roster of NBA talent in the coming weeks. They’re also expected to roll out a revamped line of sneakers.
Earlier this year, amid rumors of Reebok exiting performance basketball, the company assured us they’d be back with new athletes and a new approach.
Grabbing Nerlens is a good start.