With nearly 6.5 million viewers tuned in to an epic dunk-off between Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr., the 2020 slam dunk contest helped launch each player not only to new heights on the hardwood, but also in the marketing world.
In the aftermath of his narrowly claimed slam dunk contest win, Jones signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Puma, adding the 6-foot-6 high-flyer to a select group of NBA and WNBA athlete partners with the company.
Jones wore a white and pink Puma Clyde Hardwood sneaker to sync with the Heat’s colorful “Vice Nights” jerseys in the contest, while showcasing a variety of between-the-legs and windmill dunks. The brand offered him the endorsement deal shortly after he carried home the trophy on All-Star Saturday Night, which coincided with his 23rd birthday.
“This is a day that I’m going to tell my kids [about],” he said.
Earlier in the week, Gordon landed his own high-profile sneaker deal in anticipation of the dunk contest’s platform, signing a signature shoe deal with Chinese brand 361 Degrees.
Puma has circled Jones throughout the season, sending product to South Beach in recent months as the two sides worked toward a deal, and Jones tested the sneakers. With the 2020 slam dunk trophy and a new sneaker deal now in hand, Jones is already looking to defend his title next season in Indianapolis.
“As a kid, I told my father I was going to win one, and I got it,” he said. “So I’m going to go get another one next year.”