HomeLearning CenterFormer Gamecock A’Ja Wilson Announces Signature Shoe with Nike

Former Gamecock A’Ja Wilson Announces Signature Shoe with Nike

Originally published by Alexa Philippou for ESPN

Two-time WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson is finally getting her Nike signature shoe.

The long-anticipated news came Saturday morning as Wilson’s two-time champion Las Vegas Aces prepared to face the Puerto Rican national team in a preseason game at South Carolina’s Colonial Life Arena. The former Gamecocks national champion donned a sweatshirt for her arrival to the arena that said, “Of Course I Have A Shoe Dot Com,” a URL that redirected to Nike’s website with the announcement.

Wilson’s shoe will be called “A’One.”

Nike has named Wilson to the brand’s roster of signature athletes — a group featuring Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe, Naomi Osaka and the New York Liberty‘s Sabrina Ionescu. The shoe and rest of Wilson’s signature collection will arrive in 2025.

“It’s been incredible working with Nike toward a dream of having my collection, and it really is an honor to take this next step and become a Nike signature athlete,” Wilson said in a statement. “From my logo to the look of the shoe and the pieces throughout the collection, we’ve worked to make sure every detail is perfectly tuned to my game and style.”

After working with Nike for over a year to develop her signature collection, Wilson requested the news drop in conjunction with the Aces’ trip to Columbia, South Carolina, which is her hometown.

“The biggest thing for me is I get to showcase what I’ve been working on for a couple of years now in my home state, in my home city,” Wilson told Andscape’s Aaron Dodson. “A place where people watched me grow and I raised eyebrows like, ‘Is she really that good?!’ To then seeing me in college and now in the pros.”

Wilson will be the 13th WNBA athlete to have a signature shoe, with the majority issued during the league’s early years of existence. After a decade-plus hiatus where no WNBA players got a signature shoe, Breanna Stewart and Puma launched the Stewie 1s in 2022, while Nike came out with the Air Deldon, Elena Delle Donne‘s shoe, in 2022 and the Sabrina 1s for Ionescu the following year.

As the Aces won back-to-back WNBA championships in 2022 and 2023, with Wilson establishing herself as arguably the best player in the league and face of the game, fans have asked for Wilson to join that selective club — with many pointing to the lack of Black players included in this recent wave of shoe deals.

Those cries were revived last month when it was reported that 2024 No. 1 draft pick Caitlin Clark is expected to sign a deal with Nike worth up to $28 million that would include her signature shoe.

“There’s definitely value in patience,” Wilson told Andscape. “That’s something [South Carolina] Coach [Dawn] Staley has taught me — that some of the best things come from waiting and ‘what’s delayed is not denied.’ That’s something I have tatted on me. That’s something I live through. So it’s something I’m going to stick through.”

Wilson’s popularity and impact extends well beyond the court: She has a statue outside of Colonial Life Arena, was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2024 and is the author of “Dear Black Girls,” a New York Times best-selling book released this year.

Her cultural relevance is further solidified with her own signature shoe. Wilson said in a release that the design process was “really gratifying” and that she didn’t realize how much goes into it.

“This is something that I’ve been working so hard on, and I think that’s what a lot of people don’t understand,” Wilson told Andscape. “I didn’t want to just get a shoe. … Because I feel like when people think of me, when people think of my team, they know, ‘We’re going above and beyond.’ And that’s what I want my shoe to be.

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