Jordan Brand has expanded its WNBA portfolio, with Crystal Dangerfield and Te’a Cooper announcing that they have joined Maya Moore, Kia Nurse, Asia Durr and Satou Sabally as members of the brand’s WNBA endorsee team. Here’s why Jordan Brand was smart to sign both Dangerfield and Cooper.
2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield of the Minnesota Lynx and WNBA fan favorite Te’a Cooper of the Los Angeles Sparks have joined Jordan Brand.
Before the 2019 WNBA season, Jordan Brand expanded its WNBA footprint beyond Maya Moore, who, in 2011, became the first WNBA player with a Jordan endorsement. The New York Liberty’s Kia Nurse and Asia Durr were tapped as the WNBA’s newest Jordan ambassadors. With Durr missing much of her first two professional seasons due to injury struggles and health concerns, Nurse emerged as the prominent face of the brand in the WNBA. For the 2020 season, the Dallas Wings’ Satou Sabally, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, joined Nurse as a Jordan endorsee, showing off Jordan 34 and 35 colorways as she balled out in the wubble.
Now, Dangerfield and Cooper further diversify Jordan Brand’s WNBA portfolio.
The selection of Dangerfield and Cooper, two quite different but equally engaging young stars, underscores the wide-ranging promotional appeal of WNBA players.
Crystal Dangerfield’s Jordan-esque drive
Dangerfield appears to possess an understated version of Jordan’s Last Dance-certified “I took it personally” mentality.
After falling to the second round of the WNBA Draft, the No. 16 pick played with preternatural poise and ever-increasing confidence, proving that she not only belongs in the W but also belongs among the league’s best. Although only 5-foot-5, Dangerfield exploded for some huge offensive games, using her shifty speed to drive to the hoop while also draining deep 3-pointers.
Dangerfield is the perfect combination of a relatable yet un-relatable athlete. While her small size and modest personality encourage fans to see themselves in her, Dangerfield’s big-time game gives her the elusive appeal of an elite athlete.
Te’a Cooper’s fashion forward fits
On the court, Cooper also defied doubters. Drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, Cooper was waived due to the Mercury’s roster crunch. Picked up by the Los Angeles Sparks before the 2020 season, Cooper established herself as an integral member of one of the WNBA’s best teams, serving as an aggressive off-the-bench guard.
However, Cooper arguably made a more significant impact off the court. She quickly proved that she possesses crossover appeal, attracting the attention of those who prefer to focus on the cutting-edge style of basketball stars.
According to data collected by Opendorse, Cooper led the WNBA in social media impressions for 2020, with 4.11 million impressions. In the process, Cooper grew her follower base by 616 percent. It will be interesting to see how Jordan Brand takes advantage of her exponential popularity.
What’s next for Jordan Brand and the women’s hoops shoe game?
Earlier this fall, Under Armour introduced a women-specific performance basketball shoe — the HOVR Breakthru.
For women, by women. Introducing the UA HOVR Breakthru – our first basketball shoe developed specifically for the female athlete. The Breakthru offers a better fit and lasting comfort designed FOR YOU. Available now. https://t.co/lk00Flzn98 pic.twitter.com/5U8lFp6vLB
— Under Armour (@UnderArmour) September 22, 2020
Might Jordan again develop a women’s performance shoe?
With recent Jordan models constructed with the sturdy Zion Williamson rather than the sprightly Crystal Dangerfield in mind, it would seem that the brand would want to do all it can to enhance the play of their WNBA signees by providing them with a women-specific shoe to suit their games.
Furthermore, evidence suggests a women-specific sneaker would sell.
As discussed by Mike Sykes in his The Kicks You Wear newsletter, WNBA players have proved that they can move product, as the iconic orange hoodie sold out the opening weekend of the 2020 season and became Fanatics’ top-selling item for the summer of 2020. Before that, Nike’s much-awaited Sabrina Ionescu Oregon jersey almost instantly sold out.
.@wnba orange hoodie is top selling item on fanatics = not rocket science. Its exposure. This is the opening weekend and the most National TV games we’ve had. So we’re getting coverage. Our stories told. And the hoodie is dope. Women ARE capable of selling in high numbers!
— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) July 26, 2020
As such, it’s time to meet the needs of players and the desires of fans by producing a new women-specific performance shoe. Better yet, it’s time for Jordan Brand or Nike to fully take the lead in the women’s basketball market and provide one (or more) of the WNBA’s best hoopers with a signature shoe.
The Air Swoopes no longer needs to be on a shelf by herself.