Endorsement deals usually mean that sports stars make millions for wearing a certain shoe brand, using a particular brand of equipment, and doing a commercial or two. These athletes routinely receive multimillion-dollar paydays for lending their likeness to products, and the practice has become so competitive that a player’s endorsement income can sometimes dwarf his or her salary or winnings. A lesser known concept, however, is a non-traditional endorsement where sports stars become involved in the creative development of a product on their own volition. No big paychecks up front, no guarantees that the product will have any substantial ROI.
Why would two-Time NBA Champion and Miami Heat All-Star, Dwyane Wade pursue this type of endorsement? Enter MISSION Athletecare, a company that is a driving force of innovation in the sports industry. They snagged Wade’s emphatic endorsement by offering him the opportunity to become a part of the DNA of the business and the designing of products that suits his particular needs as a basketball player. In fact, Wade partnered with MISSION to co-develop and co-create Court Grip last season, with support from company partners Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Brandon Jennings as well as the NBA and the NBA Trainers Association. By selling the intrigue of the invention process, the opportunity to be part of a legacy, and opening the doors to becoming a champion owner, MISSION creates the perfect chemistry for a successful design and launch of performance enhancing products.
Wade felt especially invested in Court Grip, a product developed by MISSION to improve traction on hardwood courts, since he pointed to court slippage as an ongoing problem for him throughout his career. “My game is all about traction—all about change of direction. When I step on a dusty court, I feel like I can’t make the moves I want to make. Plus, I’m more at risk for injury. When I put on MISSION Court Grip, it gives me the confidence to play my game regardless of the court’s condition.” Wade has never seen a product like this, one that directly addresses a major problem for athletes. He knew that this product would begin to change the game of basketball and catch on with other NBA and college players.
Wade was right. Post launch, there was a record-breaking adoption of the product, with nearly 40% of NBA players implementing Court Grip into their game routines. One of these players is Milwaukee Buck, Brandon Jennings, who joined the impressive lineup of star athletes aligned with MISSION to partake in the creation of cutting edge Athletecare technology. In fact, Jennings was one of the subjects of an Optosource study that showed an average of 24% increase in quickness when going in and out of cuts for players at all levels when using Court Grip and also showed quantifiable improvements in balance and stability on change of direction movements.
OptoSource, a recognized leader in sports performance tracking, utilizes state-of-the-art LED sensors to track and measure athlete’s speed, agility and quickness to determine their efficiency of motion. Side-by-side analysis of Brandon Jennings’s signature move, the step back jump shot, with and without Court Grip, revealed a significant decrease in average court contact time when using the product. “I used Court Grip all of last year, and I could feel the difference in my game, but actually seeing the data from the study, the visible improvements that Court Grip made to my form, stability and performance was really amazing,” said Milwaukee Bucks star, Brandon Jennings.
With the success of Court Grip, MISSION Athletecare continues to make a lot of noise in the innovation space. Their flexible and nimble focus on solving age old problems for athletes will continue to gain strength as MISSION further develops proprietary knowledge. “It’s clear and present with the OptoSource findings, we’re maniacally focused on delivering innovative and disruptive technologies that make a difference for athletes – and our Court Grip product epitomizes that focus for our company. We’re very excited with the OptoSource results, and we’re looking forward to announcing additional data in the months ahead related to our new game-changing technologies.” said Josh Shaw, Founder and CEO of MISSION.
To see how Court Grip impacts Brandon Jennings, check out OptoSource/MISSION’s performance testing video: