WNBA player Natasha Cloud has signed an endorsement deal with Converse, making her the first female basketball player to join the brand.
The company announced Monday on social media that it is “proud and humbled” to sign Cloud, who was a starter for the 2019 WNBA champion Washington Mystics.
Converse’s announcement coincided with the publication of an essay that Cloud wrote for The Players’ Tribune more than a week ago. Cloud, known for her all-around contributions and defensive prowess on the court, has been outspoken about racial injustice, and Converse officials said her essay and activism led to the deal.
“Natasha Cloud’s recent piece is one of many examples of integrity, grace and strength she brings to the Converse team,” Ronald Johnson, general manager of global basketball at Converse, told the Washington Post. “We stand in solidarity with the black community, with our athletes, collaborators and our teammates, and we commit to act.”
Converse, acquired by Nike in 2003, was a major brand in the signature shoe market for basketball players in the 70s and 80s, with names like Julius Erving, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in its lineup. But the brand never ventured into women’s basketball until its signing of Cloud.
Cloud, who grew up outside of Philadelphia and played college basketball at St. Joseph’s, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she and her father are fans of Erving.
Cloud, 28, averaged career highs in points (nine), assists (5.6) and steals (one) per game last season.