The New York Liberty made former Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu the top pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft on Friday, and just minutes after becoming the face of the franchise, she became the faces of one of the top brands in the world. Nike announced that Ionescu has signed and endorsement deal with the sneaker and apparel giant.
According to Bill Shea of The Athletic, the deal includes a signature shoe. There isn't a current WNBA player that has a signature shoe.
In the weeks leading up to the WNBA Draft, the former Oregon star revealed that he was deciding between offers from Nike, Under Armour, and Puma in an interview with the Oregonian's John Canzano on The Bald Faced Truth podcast.
"I've been going between Nike, Under Armour and Puma," Ionescu said. "Obviously I have a good relationship with Steph (Curry) and so hearing what he has to offer and the opportunity I could take that way. And having a relationship with Phil Knight and being a Nike athlete for the last 10 years of my basketball career is also appealing. I'm just trying to weigh out all my options and seeing what the best opportunity for me will be."
Golden State Warriors star and Under Armour athlete Stephen Curry was courting Ionescu in a big way and texted her "almost every day."
"I think before this all happened, I never thought about it because I didn't think it was even a possibility because women don't usually have signature shoes," Ionescu said on NBC Sports Bay Area's Runnin' Plays podcast. "And then I think listening to a lot of these companies and the goals and visions that they had to have a signature shoe down the line, I was like, 'Oh, actually that would be pretty cool.'
It's very possible that Ionescu could become the new face of women's basketball with this Nike deal.
After being the face of women's college basketball at Oregon, Ionescu signing with the company that is based in Beaverton, Oregon and after playing here college career at Oregon where Nike founder Phil Knight is a major booster made quite a bit of sense. It also doesn't hurt that Ionescu will be in one of the biggest sports markets in the world in New York City.