New Balance is one of the few distinguished sneaker brands that has looked to claim relevance in the robust basketball footwear landscape in 2018. Initially showing interest in Boston Celtics superstar, Gordon Hayward who has since signed with ANTA, the Boston-based sneaker brand has just made their first significant splash. High School basketball standout Darius Bazley from Cincinnati has recently agreed to an endorsement deal worth $14 million with $1 million guaranteed regardless of how his prospective NBA career works out. After signing with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports in March – the agency responsible for the likes of LeBron James and Ben Simmons – Bazley opted to forego his scholarship at Syracuse and play in the G League, a path he has since abandoned to become a New Balance intern in preparation for next year’s draft. This internship will roll over into a lucrative signature shoe contract with numerous performance-based incentives after he is drafted – he is currently Sports Illustrated’s number 31 prospect in the 2019 class. Other details regarding the deal are scarce, but with players looking to make money right out of high school and avoid the politics of college ball, look for other up-and-coming High School stars to follow in Bazley’s footsteps.
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