The footwear and apparel company welcomes the young, talented Indiana Pacers guard.
by Eldon Khorshidi | @eldonadam
Some exciting news from the sneaker world this morning: Basketball footwear and apparel company AND 1 has officially signed Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson to an endorsement contract.
SLAM first reported the news via Twitter back on October 2, and Stephenson has exclusively donned AND 1 sneakers during the first month of the NBA season, but the partnership between the storied footwear company and the talented guard was formally announced today.
In the early part of the ’12-’13 campaign, Stephenson has consistently showcased the unique combination of size, skill and power that made him so coveted coming out of high school and college—the same combination that gave NBA legend Larry Bird an unwavering confidence in Lance, and the same combination that has helped Lance gradually rise within the Pacers ranks.
After being selected with the 40th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Indiana’s coaching staff brought Lance along in a slow, prudent manner throughout his first two seasons. In only 12 appearances as a rookie, Lance flashed glimpses of potential as an aggressive scorer who had a natural ability to maneuver his way to the basket. In his second season, Lance developed a change of pace, tightened up his handle and perimeter shot, and most importantly, improved his on-ball defense. As a result, he continued his ascension within the organization, becoming a marginal rotation player, appearing in 42 games highlighted by a career-high 22 points in first ever start last April. Now in his third season, Stephenson, fully acclimated to the pace and mindset of the NBA, is paying dividends for the Pacers.
Through the first month of the season, Lance has been a reliable contributor, making his mark felt in a variety of ways. Equipped with a natural ability to initiate and facilitate offense, Stephenson is among the team’s best playmakers. In 24.8 minutes per game, he’s averaging 7.9 points, 2.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds on a remarkable 50.6 percent shooting percentage.
Even if he’s having an off-night offensively or not doing much in terms of the box score, Lance always provides an infectious energy and flair to a sometimes-lifeless Pacers ball club.
As his role continues to increase, and as his game continues to mature, Lance Stephenson—someone myself, E-i-C Ben Osborne and the entire SLAM staff have been pulling for since his days at Lincoln High School—has a chance to emerge into a household name, and for all the right reasons. That’s why AND 1, like thousands of fans across the nation, have jumped on board.