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Rise of the Signature Athlete

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What does it mean to be a signature athlete in today's sneaker world?

Damian Lillard vs. Jeff Teague in the D Lillard 1
Damian Lillard vs. Jeff Teague in the D Lillard 1
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

While the first dream of every basketball player is to play in the NBA (yes, even girls), the second dream is to have their own sneaker line.  Being a signature athlete in the NBA is essentially equivalent to playing in the All Star Game.  Except this game usually lasts your entire career and really sets you aside in the public eye.  Some of the biggest current signature athletes include King James, KD, Kobe, and CP3.

Recently there has been a huge jump in new signature athletes.  Over the last year John Wall, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, and Damian Lillard (pictured above) have all released new signature kicks with Adidas, Under Armour, and Nike.

John Wall

John Wall (Photo Credit - Craig Mitchelldyer - USA TODAY Sports)

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry (Photo Credit - Cary Edmondson - USA TODAY Sports)

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving (Photo Credit - someone - USA TODAY Sports)

Kyrie Irving (Photo Credit - Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports)

While it is always exciting for an athlete reveal his kicks, has the rise of new signature athletes decreased the significance of player specific shoe lines?  As a consumer, is it worth it to buy a player specific shoe if they are less significant?  Is the whole sneaker industry headed this way? What does in mean to be a signature athlete in today's world? These are the questions we have to ask ourselves.

Either way, signature lines are the all star nominations of sneakers.  It will be interesting to watch these new athletes and the industry evolve.  Fans, wanna-be's, and sneakerheads will continue fall in love with player specific shoes.  It is a huge honor for a player to be given a signature sneaker, even if they don't actually get nominated for the All Star Game.

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard (Photo Credit - Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA TODAY Sports)