Lakers’ Taurean Prince Invests in New Shoe Brand Crossover Culture

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Taurean Prince is stepping hard into entrepreneurship with his latest venture.

The Los Angeles Lakers small forward is investing in emerging shoe brand Crossover Culture. Prince will not only be brand ambassador, but he’ll also have an expanded role with the company where he’ll be actively involved in the design and creation of shoe products.

Prince, 30, will be the brand’s first NBA investor as the veteran looks to chart a different path than others who wear larger brands like Nike and Adidas but don’t have much say in the creative direction. The partnership with Crossover Culture allows him to dig into marketing initiatives and business strategies.

Prince, who has been wearing Crossover Culture shoes during the first round of the NBA playoffs, was signed with Adidas for the first few years of his career, but he asked out of the deal after feeling things were “inconsistent” and has been a sneaker free agent for years.

Now he’s found an exclusive home with Crossover Culture.

“I could’ve signed with Nike and got merch and free Jordans,” Prince said in an interview. “It wasn’t worth it to me. I knew I wanted to wait for an opportunity that was more so a partnership rather than me just wearing somebody’s merch.”

The former Baylor University star started wearing Crossover Culture shoes this season before recently deciding to fully commit to the brand with his undisclosed investment.

Prince, who has wider fashion ambitions, joins other current and former NBA players who have taken a different route in their sneaker endorsement journey. Big Baller Brand, which was inspired by NBA guards Lonzo and LaMelo Ball, gained a lot of attention in recent years. Other players such as Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac and Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving have also created their own signature shoe in unconventional ways.

Prince is among several businessmen in the Lakers’ locker room; along with SpringHill Company co-founder LeBron James, there’s also sports drink investor Austin Reaves and Eonxi co-founder Spencer Dinwiddie. Prince said he’s learned a few things about entrepreneurship from Dinwiddie.

Crossover Culture, which was founded in 2019, looks to ride this wave of player empowerment where college and pro athletes are interested in becoming active participants in their business dealings and off-the-court ventures. The Los Angeles-based apparel company looks to not only leverage the popularity of athletes to grow its consumer base but also wants them to influence the direction of the business long term. 

“We’re building the infrastructure from A to Z, then inviting players to come in and be owners and be able to put their fingerprints on the brand,” Crossover Culture founder Ryan Duke said in an interview. “And [they’re] valued at the same level as everybody else that’s on the brand. It’s not pay to play.”

Crossover Culture is trying to get deeper into the youth basketball landscape and appeal to a younger demographic. Last month, the independent athlete-centric company partnered with five high school and college players for an NIL deal, including former Kentucky players Rob Dillingham and Jordan Burks and ex-Ohio State star Jacy Sheldon.

Prince aims to lift Crossover Culture into the mainstream by bringing in his perspective. 

“We’re going to make a lot of noise in the space over the next few years,” he said. “Stay tuned.”

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