After recently signing Kemba Walker to team with Brandon Jennings to hopefully create an all-league backcourt, Under Armour took another bold step today in building their basketball lineup. They announced they’ve signed Minnesota’s Derrick Williams to add another future star to their brand.
I caught up with Williams to talk about his new deal with Under Armour and what the future holds for that partnership, but also to get his opinion of his new Minnesota teammates – he thinks they’re ready to make a big jump – and also the five players he most wants to play against.
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Dime: What was your initial reaction to being signed by Under Armour?
Derrick Williams: It’s a great feeling. It’s an up-and-coming company. I felt like I was a good fit for them and it really felt like I could really help their whole company out in the long run. So I think that’s why I chose them.
Dime: What initially attracted you to them?
DW: Basically, I think with Kemba and Brandon – and recently Kemba just made the jump from Jordan and Nike, throughout his whole career all he did was wear retro Jordans and all kinds of Kobes and stuff like that. So I felt like if he could make the jump then I could too.
Dime: Are there any plans in the works moving forward with Under Armour as far as what you might be wearing?
DW: You know, not right now. We both will probably have a lot of Brandon’s stuff, what he designed. So hopefully we can put both of our minds together and design something that we like as well.
Dime: What do you want your role to be with them and what are you kinda expecting it to be?
DW: Just to be able to help this program make a bigger jump than what it is right now. I think two years ago, they went into the basketball side of it like they are right now. I think that we can make another big jump and have more people come in to make that jump, and sign with Under Armour like I did. I think that we’ll be three times better than what we are right now in the next couple of years.
Dime: Definitely. For someone to blow up as fast as you did in college, when did you first start to realize that hey, maybe one day I will get my own sneaker or my own apparel line?
DW: Growing up, that was one of my goals, to have a shoe deal and also to have my own shoe. I felt like I can make those dreams come true with this company and I felt like they showed me a lot of fashion while they were trying to get me to sign.
Dime: Are there any plans to work with any of the other NBA guys on there like Kemba Walker and Brandon Jennings?
DW: Yeah. I know Kemba. I don’t know Brandon too well, but we are all going to have to get to know each other a lot better since we are all under the same company. So I feel like Kemba is a great guy and I’ve heard Brandon is a great guy too so I feel like it’s going to be a good start to the whole Under Armour basketball side.
Dime: Do you know Walker well from the draft process?
DW: Yeah, I’ve known Kemba well for a while know, especially since after we declared for the draft. I’ve talked to countless numbers of times so he’s a great guy and we have a lot of similarities in off-the-court style and on-the-court style so I really think that we can come up with a lot of great ideas for this whole company.
Dime: Speaking of style, how would you describe yours? What type of stuff do you want to see in your sneakers?
DW: I look at Brandon and all of the stuff that he’s done throughout the whole process of him designing his shoe. He has multiple memories of a lot of shoes that he has. I just want to put all of his designs and all of his ideas behind it to come up with a shoe. Any little thing that he sees or whatever he’s doing, whether he’s shooting lights out, they really put that together and design stuff that way. For myself, me and Kemba, we can really come up with a lot of ideas and Under Armour is really open to a lot of ideas that we have. I think that’s the reason why I chose them.
Dime: What qualities about yourself will make you a good leader for this brand? Do you think your story will help the general public relate to you?
DW: I really think that Brandon and Kemba bring out that dynamic, the flashy point guard. They can put up a lot of points. But I think I bring to the table a lot of the same qualities like a dynamic player, can score, can put up points and explosive with my power. That’s what I think I bring to the table in just a different part of the game. You should have different types of the basketball world in your company like myself, a powerful, dynamic scorer. Then you have Kemba, a flashy, point guard. Then you have Brandon, who can put up A LOT of buckets. These different types of players in your whole company is really what shapes it.