Dennis Smith Jr. has signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour Inc., becoming the second top-10 NBA rookie to do so this year.
Smith was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 9 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. He joins Josh Jackson, of the Phoenix Suns, as rookies to sign with Baltimore-based Under Armour. Under described the deal as a “multi-year partnership” and did not disclose terms of the deal.
The 19-year-old guard enjoyed was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the year after his lone season at N.C. State University. Smith averaged 18 points per game in college and scored 17 points per game during this year’s NBA Summer League.
Smith is the third NBA player from North Carolina to get a deal with Under Armour (NYSE: UAA). Smith joins Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and his Mavericks teammate Seth Curry.
“Under Armour is an explosive brand in basketball right now, and I’m excited to join Stephen, Seth and the team at UA in making our mark together,” Smith said in a statement. “UA does it right in making footwear that helps all athletes get better, and that’s what I’m aiming for, to grow and get better and put my stamp on the league with UA.”
For Under Armour, Smith represents a steal from its rivals Nike Inc. and Adidas AG. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank has pointed to footwear as one of the key businesses for Under Armour’s future growth.
In an earnings call with analysts last week Plank said footwear is one of five segments where the company wants to focus as it looks for a turnaround after reporting its second consecutive quarterly loss. The company said it is laying off 280 employees as part of its restructuring plan.
Under Armour’s footwear sales exceeded $1 billion for the first time in 2016. They fell 2 percent in the second quarter to $237 million. Plank said he expects sales to pick up in the fall with the release of the Curry 4.