Rumors began to circulate back in early 2018 about Drake’s sneaker endorsement deal with Jordan Brand, the subsidiary company of Nike, coming to an end after the Canadian rapper made numerous public appearances wearing Adidas gear and shoes. Drake’s switch from the Swoosh to the Three Stripes never materialized, but how close was Drake to signing with Adidas? Three years later, details about the potential signing have come to light.
According to former VP GM of Adidas Yeezy Jon Wexler, who is now serving as the VP of Shopify’s creator and influencer program, the signing wasn’t as far along as it was once reported. In the latest episode of the Complex Sneakers Podcast, Wexler tells a story about Adidas’ efforts in trying to sign Drake in 2018.
“There was some flirtation back and forth and some meetings, but it was just a really interesting situation because Adidas set up the playbook for the entertainment marketing piece and other people started to do it in their own way,” said Wexler. He initially sensed an opportunity steming from the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend. “They didn’t even do the Jordan 6 for Toronto All-Star. So I was like, ‘That’s strange.’ From the outside … it’s a no brainer, to me, so I would assume something happened.”
Wexler revealed that it was none other than Kanye West that made the connection between Adidas and Drake. “Kanye was at the front-end of all of that. I think they were recording and some stuff together. They [Kanye West and Drake] were exploring stuff with Adidas but I don’t think things were as far along as the blogs were presenting it. There were a lot of rumors flying around but it just didn’t come together. Some people grew up with what they grew up with and that’s what it is.”
As for Pusha T’s role in disrupting the deal, as was heavily rumored following his “The Story of Adidon” diss track, Wexler says that wasn’t the case. “By the time that song came out, it was pretty clear that that was already not gonna happen.” Still, he didn’t pass up the opportunity to bring it up the next time they saw each other, which was a week after the song’s release, at Kanye West’s birthday party. “Pusha was like … ‘Yo, what’s up?’ And I was like, ‘My week’s been kinda crazy, this one rapper did this diss track on somebody that I was thinking about signing a deal with, and it turned my whole week upside-down.’ And he just started cracking up.”
Readers can check out the latest episode of the Complex Sneakers Podcast with Wexler in the entirety here.