Last week, The Athletic reported that Caitlin Clark was on the verge of signing a historic eight-year, eight-figure endorsement deal with Nike, which is apparently valued at $28 million and will include her own line of signature shoes. The hoops phenom’s previous deal with the brand, signed in 2022 and covering her college career, came to an end as the 2024 NCAA season wrapped up last month; this new agreement, meanwhile, will be the most lucrative sponsorship contract ever signed by a women’s basketball player.

That’s both extraordinary and unsurprising: Clark, the number-one pick in the latest WNBA draft, is the most prolific scorer in NCAA Division 1 history and a generational talent whose popularity has helped thrust women’s basketball further into the mainstream. Her Nike-branded Indiana Fever jersey sold out within an hour of her being drafted. You better believe that whatever merch Nike releases as part of this landmark deal, fans will be lining up around the block to buy it. That’s just how popular Caitlin Clark is.

Clark also has endorsement deals with Gatorade, State Farm, and Panini, but this Nike partnership has the capacity to truly move the cultural needle. Here’s what we’d like to see when the deal comes through and Clark joins the Fever next season.

The Nike Caitlin 1

Or the Nike Clark 1, but the former has a better ring to it. Nike has a chance to do something unique with Clark’s first signature sneaker, making an impact culturally not seen since the launch of the first Air Jordan back in 1985. Although other WNBA stars have helped pave the way for women’s signature shoe lines, Clark’s unprecedented cultural footprint seems poised to make her signature shoe the first women’s basketball sneaker to become a crossover phenomenon, transcending the performance market to hit the mainstream. Could Clark’s debut shoe be a hit with sneakerheads? Or maybe even be the next Panda Dunk? The potential is there.

Street-Ready Colorways

Performance will always be the most important factor in a new basketball sneaker, but we’ve recently seen an uptick in court-ready designs with serious fashion credibility. A shoe like the Nike Book 1 works great on the hardwood and the sidewalk, thanks to an understated silhouette and a bevy of top-notch colorways. We’d love to see Clark’s shoes come out in similarly eye-catching makeups—and potentially pay tribute to some of the most iconic palettes from Nike’s history, like the University Blue, Bred, or Infrared.

Hot Collaborations

You know the most surefire way to get everybody talking about a sneaker? Major collaborations. And when you’re talking about a star as marketable as Caitlin Clark, the possibilities are endless: from famous pop stars to fashionable rappers to niche soda companies, plenty of potential big-name creative partners will be lining up for a chance to make sneaker magic with the Fever rookie. She already has a Gatorade deal: That one’s a no-brainer. What else could we see on the horizon?

Cross-League Support

When Sabrina Ionescu’s debut Nike shoe, the Sabrina 1, hit shelves last year, it instantly became inescapable around the WNBA and the NBA. Stars like Jordan Clarkson, Jrue Holiday, and Mikal Bridges began taking the court in their Sabrinas, helping to break the stigma around men rocking “women’s” shoes. Clark’s signature Nikes have the potential to make an even bigger impact across both leagues, and we’re hopeful they’ll turn up in some big games in place of your more standard-issue Kobes and KDs.

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