Jay Z

Puma is putting the basketball industry on notice: it is back in the game.

Puma announced a flurry of signings recently including DeAndre Ayton (Arizona), Marvin Bagley III (Duke), and Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech).

Ayton was the latest big-name signing, as he is projected to go #1 overall to the Phoenix Suns in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

But the biggest move of all was just revealed as Jay-Z has joined as the company’s president of basketball operations.

“We’ve been working with Roc Nation for quite some time. They’ve been great partners to us for several years. We’ve done many different deals with many different ambassadors,” Adam Petrick, Puma’s global director of brand and marketing, said in an interview with Complex.

JAY-Z felt it “was something he wanted to be a part of,” according to Petrick.

The legendary hip-hop artist will have a hand in the players selected to join Puma’s basketball division and will assist in the art design and overall concept and direction of the Puma brand.

“What’s important to him on a day like today is that it’s clear we’re making a serious push with players like Bagley and Ayton and Smith. We’re making a serious statement about the entry of the category, that we want to be a performance brand, but then also very culturally focused. It’s clear that we’re looking at basketball through the lens of culture, and thinking about the fashion of basketball, the music of basketball, all the aspects of the culture around basketball as much as the on-court presence that we will have,” Petrick added.

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