PUMA signs local basketball stars and extends deal with Soweto Basketball Academy

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  • Post published:March 22, 2024

PUMA has entrenched its commitment to developing basketball talent in South Africa by renewing its partnership with the Soweto Basketball Academy (SBA) and by signing endorsement deals with a trio or stars in Lebesa Selepe, Nkosinathi “Nathi” Sibanyoni and Taite Hendricks.

PUMA first partnered with the SBA in July 2022 to develop talent in South Africa by supporting basketball at an academy level. The brand came on board as the official technical sponsor, providing full apparel, footwear and balls, from u10 up to the senior teams. The partnership has seen the Academy continue to flourish and its young stars excel at individual and team level.

This success encouraged PUMA to renew the deal. “PUMA believes that extending the partnership is needed to continue the upward projection of SBA players,” said PUMA Marketing Manager Alex Hulley.

The partnership has already witnessed many highlights, with the SBA excelling in both the boys and girls divisions and players regularly receiving MVP honours.

Recent successes include the u18 girls winning the St Peter’s College Basketball tournament in February, with Bokang Lefakane named the Most Valuable Player. The girls team also won the title at the St Stithians College Basketball u16 Tournament in February. Team captain Bokang Lefakane was also named the MVP at this tournament, while among the boys, Mamello Nalenyane was selected as an All Star.

In turn, PUMA has benefitted from the relationship in terms of growing its profile in the sport. “The SBA is one of the most successful youth academies in basketball in South Africa, and with the consistent successes PUMA is being seen an authentic basketball brand on the court,” said Hulley.

By signing deals with the trio of local players, PUMA is mirroring what the brand has done globally where it has partnered with the likes of LaMelo Ball, Scoot Henderson and Breanna Stewart.

Selepe, a guard with SA champions the Cape Town Tigers, is a dynamic and driven player who is a teammate of rebound king Nathi. While Hendricks, one of the standouts at the high school interprovincial tournament in 2023, is a dynamic young player, with the potential to achieve great things and inspire young players.

For Selepe, who plays in PUMA MB.03s (the LaMelo Ball shoe), signing with the brand was a no-brainer: “PUMA is trendy and hard to ignore, what attracted me to the brand is how they hit the ground running in the basketball industry and haven’t looked back.”

Nathi said he was attracted to PUMA because the brand invests in cutting-edge technology to create high-performance athletic gear: “They continue to develop quality products like the MB.03s which offer both durability and style.”

Explaining why he has joined the PUMA fam, Hendricks said: “To be a part of such an edgy and different company that isn’t afraid to push the status quo, fits me perfectly. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I am currently using the PUMA All Pro NITRO basketball shoes and they are without a doubt the best shoes I’ve played in. But both the PUMA MB.03s and All Pro NITROs offer a combination of court-feel, traction and comfort which is ideal for any player at any level.”

“As we grow PUMA brand relevance in basketball, we will continue to identify local talents who are dynamic, have a distinct personality and a playing style which sets them apart on the court,” said Hulley.

PUMA’s support for the sport also saw the brand donate 150 pairs of sneakers to the basketball development programme at the University of Cape.”