Scoot Henderson, NBA Rookie and Puma’s Latest Signature Athlete, Joins Elite Company

Henderson debuts his first signature shoe with Puma, the Scoot Zeros, and talks to Complex about reaching the NBA, joining the Puma family, and more.

Puma Scoot Zeros "Georgia Peach"
The Puma Scoot Zeros in the "Georgia Peach" colorway. Via Puma
Puma Scoot Zeros "Georgia Peach"

Puma's newest signature athlete, Scoot Henderson, is already in a special group of basketball players that includes Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Shaq, Hakeem Olajuwon, Grant Hill, Jerry Stackhouse, Stephon Marbury, and Lonzo Ball. As a rookie, he's still a long way from achieving the on-court accolades of those legends, but they share the rare distinction of being players that started out their first year in the NBA with a signature shoe.

If you don’t know Henderson, he’s a rookie for the Portland Trail Blazers, and he’s achieved his lifelong dream of becoming an NBA player the unconventional way—and with a chip on his shoulder. Henderson signed with the G League Ignite at age 17, becoming the youngest player in G League history, and eventually was selected as the third overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. 

Inspired by Henderson’s personal mantra, “O.D.D: Overly Determined to Dominate,” his Puma Scoot Zeros are packed with Puma tech like Profoam EVA, which was utilized for Scoot’s style of play on the court. The Scoot Zeros also feature a reinforced Formstrip for additional durability, as well as aggressive Jaws rubber wrap-ups to reflect Henderson’s fearless on-court play. 

Scoot Henderson during a Puma campaign for his signature shoe

The Puma Scoot Zeros’ “Georgia Peach” launch colorway is inspired by his style of play and the state of Georgia, Henderson’s home state. The Puma Scoot Zeros release on Dec. 15 for $100.

We spoke to Henderson in Portland to learn more about Puma, his signature shoe, and what the process was like. The interview has been edited for clarity.

Where does the name Scoot come from? I know that's a nickname.
When I was younger, my dad was just a goofy person, and just gave me the nickname. So he always came out with nicknames on the fly. Like he gave my niece and nephew nicknames before they were even born. So he’s just a goofy person. It just stuck and my parents would call me at basketball and football games, and everybody else would be like, “Scooter!” or, “Scooter Man!” or, “Scoot!”

What does the number zero mean to you?
It's a number I always had from middle school to high school. I wore number five my freshman year ‘cause number zero wasn't there. But I think just growing up, seeing my sister have number zero, and then watching my favorite players, Russell Westbrook, Dame. Well, players that I was really interested in watching, like just how they played the game, so energetic and stuff like that. It's just a cool number too.

What is it like to be in the Puma family?
It's super dope. You know, I think Puma just treats their players with respect. They hear them out every single time, and they help out as much as they can. From something that could be so stressful, they make it, you know, easy on the players.

I saw an Instagram post on your page. You were, like, outside the Puma jet. What was it like being on that jet for the first time?
The first time it was crazy. Never been in a private airport. That day I was with my family, my grandma, my nephew. Everyone. So it was just fun, you know. I just felt the blessing from God, just that I was healthy and I was around my family.

So have you ever met Hov? 
No, I haven't met Hov yet. 

You're gonna have to make that happen. He's part of the Puma family.
He is. Yeah, gotta meet him and Rihanna.

Facts, gotta make that happen. What was the process like of creating the Scoot Zeros?
It was a fun process for me. I got to be able to go in my creative mind, and I'm already pretty creative and I can, you know, do things like art wise, but that was like something I've never done before. Done the shoe thing in 2K, you know, just random colors, random shoes, but, like, that was—man, it was a process. It was fun though.

What part of the design was important to you, whether it’s having a low-cut shoe or colorway?
I think my favorite part is like the green, the Formstrip; like they change the shape of the Formstrip to look faster, and on the back it's like, you know, you see like the little overlays on the heel. Like that shit is fire to me. I feel like that's my favorite part.

NBA player Scoot Henderson wearing the Puma Scoot Zeros

What was your first impression when you first saw the Scoot Zeros?
Like, damn—first and foremost was just like, damn, I got my own shoes. Like, “I'm blessed.” That was the first thing I thought of, and I just took in that moment and was just happy for myself, honestly.

Yeah. The first impression I had was like, this shoe looks like Georgia. Was that on purpose?
It was. It was only right for me to pay homage to where I'm from and how much of an impact that Georgia has had on me.

You now join a special group of players who had a signature shoe their rookie season. LeBron, Mike, Shaq, Iverson, and more. What does that mean to you?
Damn. That's crazy. Like I said, it's a blessing. It's a blessing to even have the opportunity to be one of those select few players. So I'm not gonna take it for granted. I'm gonna try to show Rip City who I am, and, you know, I'm not gonna make anybody regret, you know, that I'm in this blessed position. 

They're special players like you just named. Shaq, guys like that, man. A.I., he's one of my favorites. So it's amazing.

Dope. Why should young hoopers buy your shoe?
I think young hoopers should buy my shoes because, you know, I was in their shoes one time. I think my shoe is fun and it's a very comfortable shoe, because a lot of shoes that people are hooping in now are just not comfortable and have no real support. The colorways are gonna be endless. It's gonna be fire.

So what was it like working out with Steph? I know he’s a mentor to you. What's that relationship like?
Yeah, our relationship is tight, you know; it's pretty close just from working out with his trainer, and, you know, I was going back and forth just asking him questions while we're working out and stuff. So that relationship is growing every single day.

Stephen Curry and Scoot Henderson after a game on December 6, 2023

What do you have to say to the Portland fans?
I hope I see every single person in there just wearing the Scoot Zeros, for sure. But I think we're gonna have a great year of growing and learning from each other. I think we're gonna have a lot of fun doing that.