From being undrafted to becoming an NBA champion, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is now the face of AND1per ESPN’s Nick DePaula. He was a close second to the NBA Finals NVP voting to eventual winner Kawhi Leonard.
The endorsement, per NBA Canada, was a move by the shoe company who is trying to re-emerge to the basketball scene. AND1 was a popular shoe and clothing brand that started making basketball shoes in 1996 following the signing of then-rookie Stephon Marbury.
The company started recruiting NBA players to bring their brand to the world stage after Marbury and Rafer Alston. Some of these players were Jamal Crawford, Latrell Sprewell, and NBA champion Kevin Garnett. Being groomed as the face of the brand, followers cannot help but be happy and reminisce about the glory days of the brand.
The 6-foot-1 guard from Wichita State was included in the AND1’s “All-NBA ‘AND1’ Brand Second Team” on their Instagram post. Though listed as a power forward, he was joined by other former NBA pros Marbury and Alston at the guard positions, Monta Ellis joining VanVleet at the forwards, and Shawn Marion at the center.
Their “All-NBA ‘AND1’ Brand First Team” include Sprewell, Chauncey Billups, Vince Carter, Garnett, and Ben Wallace. Billups and Wallace were together with the Detroit Pistons during their championship runs, including a 2004 NBA championship over the Kobe and Shaq-led Los Angeles Lakers.
AND1 also posted clips of VanVleet when they faced the Portland Trail Blazers, as well as the AND1 shoes that he was wearing. VanVleet had stats across the board on that game with his 30 points, seven assists, four rebounds, two steals, and a block in 40 minutes.
The streetball spirit of the brand might have been infused on one play posted by the Raptors’ Twitter account and he just reacted with laughing emojis when mentioned that it has something to do with the AND1s.
With AND1 signing up someone from Toronto, the brand may have come full circle as former Toronto star Vince Carter won the 2000 Slam Dunk competition wearing AND1 Tai Chis.