Another top star from the National Basketball Association will support sports drinks maker Gatorade – but this one is also an up and coming music star.
Damián Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazer superstar, has agreed to an endorsement deal with PepsiCo's Gatorade, the company said on Friday. Gatorade will use the NBA All-Star's name, image, likeness, and social media accounts to endorse its BOLT24 product, starting with a TV commercial released this month.
Contract terms were not disclosed.
Lillard joins a roster of NBA stars, including Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson. However, the current roster lacks what Lillard brings – a music platform.
Outside of the NBA, the Blazers Guard became famous in the music industry for his hip-hop recordings, which went under the name Dame D.O.L.L.A. Top hip-hop acts have adopted and worked with Lillard, which means Gatorade will get a cross-over star who will endorse their product on multiple platforms.
"Damian is not just a dynamic basketball player, he's also a dynamic person off the field," Jeff Kearney, global director of sports marketing for Gatorade, said in a statement. "He brings so much to the table – thoughtfulness, character, raw talent, honed craftsmanship – he's always ready and he's always real."
"There is certainly a great attraction for him," added Scott Rosner, professor of sports management at Columbia University. "He's absolutely a personable guy, an all-star for several years, easily a top 20 player in the league. He's certainly an attractive person for brands you want to run with – and for blue-chip brands."
The 30-year-old Lillard averaged 37.6 points in eight games when the NBA restarted and led the Blazers to a post-season playoff appearance against eventual champions, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lillard will earn around $ 31 million for the 2020-21 season, the final before his new contract begins. Last year, the Oakland native signed a Supermax deal with the Blazers – a four-year extension of $ 196 million.
He has also released three music albums, with his debut "The Letter 0" in 2016. Lillard has worked with top rappers like Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz.
Lillard also has advertising deals with clothing company Adidas and streaming service Hulu. Aligning with Lillard can help Gatorade keep holding off rivals like Bodyarmor to overtake the sports drinks category.
"The gap is closer than ever," said Rosner. "Between Bodyarmor and BioSteel, which join Powerade and Gatorade, the competition is greater than ever.
"So you have to keep that relevance to a younger generation who might know about 'Be Like Mike' [Michael Jordan], but he's not as relevant to their lives as a younger player like Damian Lillard." "
Sports marketing manager Tony Ponturo agreed when speaking to CNBC about Lillard's Gatorade addition on Friday.
"They wanted to bond with someone and the NBA star can be a huge asset in staying relevant," said Ponturo, former vice president of global media sports and entertainment marketing for Anheuser-Busch. "Sport has become entertainment and lifestyle.
"If you can cross all of these," he added, "if you can get two or three [platforms] for the price of one, that's a pretty good way to go."