Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Dominican, 20, Basketball
NBA’s best rookie riding high after a ground-breaking year
Key partners: Nike, Samsung
2015 ranking: New entry
The National Basketball Association (NBA) draft is one of the sport’s most momentous events. Fans wait with bated breath to find out who the next college star will be to join the big boys. The first pick carries with him a wealth of expectation, following in the footsteps of recent number one drafts LeBron James, Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose. In 2015, Karl Anthony Towns was selected first. No pressure, then.
Towns thrived in his first year with the Minnesota Timberwolves, breaking all manner of records as he did so and winning the league’s rookie of the year award unanimously. He recorded over 50 ‘double-doubles’ in 82 games, averaging 18.3 points per appearance and 10.5 rebounds. Against the Washington Wizards on 25th March he made his 741st rebound of the season, setting a new Minnesota rookie record.
Towns has significant off-court appeal as well. He attributes his success to an imaginary friend named Karlito, who sits on his shoulders and talks him through games. Karlito has featured on T-shirts and promotional materials, as well as in social media campaigns with the NBA star. Beyond this playful gimmick, as the NBA’s highest-ranked newcomer, Towns has taken on a number of high-profile campaigns with Nike. As he matures into an NBA All-Star, his image – and success – only look likely to grow. TL
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