Nike scores big with Zion Williamson


July 25, 2019

Today, The scooter industry is out for blood and the millennial Bible trend is anything but a dud, but first…
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Zion Williamson scored a monstrous $75m brand deal… with his feet

After months of deliberating, New Orleans Pelicans rookie and #1 overall NBA draft pick Zion Williamson signed a gargantuan multiyear shoe deal with Nike’s Jordan Brand.

Zion’s deal is worth a reported $75m over 7 years, which is Nike’s largest deal since it signed LeBron for $90m back in 2003 — months before the King exited high school.

OK, so at least they’re giving Zion a little more time to prove himself

Of course, Zion hasn’t played a lick of professional basketball yet, he towers over 6’7’’, and the game is known as the injury sport — with an average player career of only 4.5 years (if they’re lucky). 

But the power forward’s lightning-quick career as a college phenom has preached volumes to his pro-potential (22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game), and, from a marketing perspective, that’s all that matters.

Zion is set to receive $10.7m annually over the lifetime of the deal — on top of the $9.8m the Pelicans are paying him to actually play next season.

A big bet on a big get

In February, the sports world nearly keeled over when Zion’s left shoe exploded out from under him within the first minutes of a game.

The star exited with a knee injury and left many to speculate, at the time, whether basketball’s brightest young talent would ever be able to fly again. 

The shoe in question? It was Nike’s.

Now, he’s the face of the brand’s future

More than 67% of NBA players currently wear Nike basketball sneakers.

But, as the aging stars of today begin to cross over, the company’s plan is to start investing in energetic NBA up-and-comers — Zion being at the top of that youthful list.

And the comparisons to His Airness have already begun: “There is something special about Zion that reminds me of MJ when he was younger,” Jordan VP of brand affairs, Howard White, told ESPN.

The question is, can the 19-year-old live up to the hype?

LeBron did it
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Two guys with a flatbed truck have become dockless scooters’ worst nightmare

Scooter companies are huge: Bird, which has 1k+ employees, has raised more than $418B valued at $2.5B; Lime, which has 1.2k+ employees, has raised more than $765m valued at $2.4B.

But no amount of venture capital could have prepared the scooter industry for its biggest challenge yet: 2 guys named John and Dan.

It’s a tale of David vs. Scoot-liath

ScootScoop, a company that impounds dockless scooters for property owners in San Diego, was founded by 2 guys named John Heinkel and Dan Borelli, The Verge reports

ScootScoop has no employees or outside funding but, together, its 2 founders are a micro-mobility menace: John has a background in repossessing property, and Dan has something even more valuable: a flatbed truck. 

Together, the Bird-bashing, Lime-squeezing vigilantes round up offending scooters 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

But Bird won’t abandon its flock without a fight

Both Bird and Lime have sued ScootScoop for improperly impounding their scooters. 

The 2 multibillion-dollar scooter giants — both infamous for brazenly breaking laws in cities across the country — are begging a local judge to protect them from 2 grumpy guys with a truck.

“The people of San Diego are being bamboozled by a local tow company scheme,” Bird told The Verge.

Depositions in the case are set to start at month’s end. In the meantime, John and Dan — who recently impounded their 10,360th scooter — have no plans to slow down.

» Scooters scoot
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The minimum price of a golden visa is going up from $500k to $900k

Government officials revamped the controversial EB-5 visa program — which enables immigrant investors to obtain “golden visas” — by raising investment minimums from $500k to $900k.

Wait, wait, wait… what’s a ‘golden visa’?

The EB-5 visa program gives immigrant investors (and their immediate family members) 2-year green cards in exchange for US investments.

The original program, launched in the ’90s to attract investment during a recession, granted green cards for $500k investments in “high-unemployment areas” or $1m investments anywhere else.

Now, those minimums will increase to $900k for high-unemployment investments and $1.8m investments elsewhere.

This new program will (try to) close a loophole

The original program was widely criticized when it brought in investment for luxury condos instead of underserved communities.

The new rules will tighten the requirements for investment, theoretically aligning the program with its original mission of creating US employment opportunities.

But, since the program doesn’t go into effect for another 4 months, critics worry the changes will open the floodgates for a final wave of unscrupulous investing as buyers rush to purchase golden visas in the final 120 days before the prices go up.

» Citizenship 4 sale

Hipster Bibles are now a thing

Would you read the Bible if there were pictures? And not just some janky cartoon of Daniel getting thrown into the lions’ den — we’re talking minimalist design engineered for hipsters.    

The startup Alabaster is betting that young people, often averse to religion, will delve into Scripture… if it’s presented in an aesthetically pleasing form.

Others are doing the same for the Bhagavad Gita, the Talmud, and classic works of literature. 

A way for millennials to keep the faith?

Updates to the presentation of the Bible and other religious texts aren’t new. 

“Every generation demands its own prayer book,” Rabbi Hara Person tells Crain’s New York.  

Plus, there are Bibles for other niche groups, including firefighters and golfers

But Alabaster sees its artsy, minimalist Bibles appealing to a large group — a younger generation that, in the same way it favors craft coffee and craft beer, wants something high-quality and “authentic.”  

The issue with copyright infringement 

Despite the age of the Bible — and the belief by many that it was divinely inspired — many translations of scripture are copyrighted. So Alabaster had to get permission from a publishing company. 

But plenty of classical works lose their copyrights over the years. In fact, after a 21-year freeze, the U.S. introduced new titles into the public domain — every work produced in the U.S. in 1923, including poems by Robert Frost and works by Willa Cather. 

Now, every passing year will feature the introduction of more literature and music. 

So get started on that cubist coffee table book portrayal of Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

» An answer to our prayers

Want to learn more about Bibles for millenials?

The previous story was adapted from a Trends report by The Hustle. Check out the full story here.

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