NBA prospect Darius Bazley has signed an endorsement deal with New Balance, the brand confirmed today. He is the first player to sign on as a part of the relaunch of the brand's basketball division with a new collection slated to debut in 2019.
The deal is reportedly worth a minimum of $1 million, but can earn the young talent as much as $14 million if he reaches specific performance goals. As part of the deal, Bazley will complete a three-month internship with the Boston-based brand during the upcoming college basketball regular season. More specifically, he will be working within the global marketing, digital, and product design teams.
Despite a previous commitment to play college ball at Syracuse, Bazley announced he would forego a college career this past March in favor of the G-League. More recently, he walked back his G-League decision as well. The 18-year old will be using the next year to prepare for the 2019 NBA Draft.
"I take pride in my decision. There are no regrets at all. At the end of the day, people are going to do what they want to do. Whether it’s going to college, whether it’s skipping college to go to the NBA, whether it’s quitting basketball altogether — people will make their choices," Bazley told The Athletic. "This decision is what I wanted to do, and I embrace that. It’s my life, my decision, my path and my journey."
Bazley's top-level talent has also allowed him to participate in prestigious, invitation-only events like the McDonald’s All-American game, Jordan Brand Classic, and Nike Hoop Summit. He is currently projected to be selected late in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
"When Darius first declared his intentions of foregoing the traditional path to the NBA and pursue his dreams on his own terms, we knew that he was the ideal ambassador for New Balance," Chris Davis, the brand's VP of global marketing, said in a press release. "Similar to Darius, New Balance has a fearlessly independent mindset and we continuously strive to partner with athletes who reflect our values and strive to stand up to convention. We are thrilled to have Darius join the New Balance family and look forward to partnering with him on production creation, co-authoring content, and building our collective brands together."