There are a lot of firsts in this new partnership.
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has been appointed as the first “Crew Athlete” for digital sneaker platform, Kicks Crew. According to Women’s Wear Daily, the partnership will be the NBA Allstar’s first tech start-up investment, and the digital company’s first athlete partnership.
“I see a real opportunity to not only learn something new but make real contributions that will help develop the business — beyond just putting my name on something,” Lillard said about the partnership. “With everything I do, I strive to ensure I’m highly involved and that it is a reflection of my values and priorities. Oftentimes brands seek you out to get everything from you, but nothing actually from you, if that makes sense. Kicks Crew and I are working closely together so that we lay the foundation for a truly long-term relationship.”
The Oakland, California native joined forces with Kicks Crew in August to host a giveaway where he handed out sneakers from the line in an ice cream truck at Bill Patterson Park in his hometown. The company’s mission of making sneaker culture more accessible through community outreach impressed Lillard, and an investor reportedly introduced him to the Kicks Crew team.
KICKS CREW x @Dame_Lillard . Introducing our latest CREW Athlete with our first campaign where we went back to Dame’s hometown to give back. Watch the full film w/ @Dame_Lillard : https://t.co/kCrlfjRD4g
— KICKS CREW (@kickscrew) October 20, 2022
“That conversation happened really naturally — knowing him as a person, understanding his love of sneaker culture and understanding our mission of putting sneaker culture into the hands of more people and being more accessible. Him having a very accessible line of sneakers, just everything made sense to work together,” said Ross Adrian Yip, cofounder and chief operating officer of Kicks Crew. “Most importantly, I think he’s very community first. When we talked, he said let’s bring some brand awareness and how about we go back to my hometown in an ice cream truck and hook up my community.”
Kicks Crew launched last year and the app plans to become a more community-driven platform beyond customers purchasing products. The platform also carries overstock inventory from brands like Adidas, Nike, Jordan, New Balance, Yeezy and others.