It’s every young basketball player’s dream to one day play in the NBA. Not far behind that for some, is getting your first shoe deal.
Celtics rookie Aaron Nesmith can now check both of those boxes.
Last month Nesmith signed an endorsement deal with New Balance and joined the Garden Report for an exclusive interview to discuss both the branding and social justice work he plans to do going forward with the company.
“It was a dream come true,” Nesmith said. “Obviously you dream of playing the NBA then you want a shoe deal, so the opportunity to be able to join the New Balance family which was absolutely amazing, it was super exciting and it was a really easy choice too just because of what they’re doing in the basketball space, they’re very unique opposed to other shoe companies, the approach that they’re taking.”
Nesmith joins Kawhi Leonard, Jamal Murray, Dejounte Murray and Darius Bazley, who interned with the company. He already wore New Balance sneakers throughout his rookie season, and like Bazley did before his rookie season is working hands-on with designing a shoe a reflects his personality, story and South Carolina background.
“That opportunity, mixed with the people and just being so close in Boston just made it an easy decision.”
The rookie from Vanderbilt is in the midst of the best stretch of his young career. He is shooting 58.8% from three over the past six games, with 9.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 0.7 steals per game as he mixes his touted shooting with a new flare for hustle plays.
He’s doing it in his OMN1S, KAWHIs and his favorite, the Two WXAY, showing off each in his Garden Report appearance. Along with working close to the business side at New Balance, Nesmith hopes to use his proximity, with Auerbach Center feet from New Balance’s headquarters, and participation in the Celtics and New Balance’s Playbook Initiative to become more involved in the Boston community in coming years.
The Playbook Initiative is an inclusion initiative that the partners have developed, which Nesmith said will be announcing plans for the future soon.
“They’re just so close,” he said. “So anything that they need, anything within the city of Boston they want to do, I can just go there. Having that flexibility is a huge positive.”