Natasha Cloud becomes first WNBA player to sign a shoe deal with Converse

Lia Assimakopoulos
NBC Sports Washington

After weeks of protesting and advocacy, Natasha Cloud continues to inspire change. 

On Monday, Converse welcomed the Mystics guard to its family and announced on Instagram her intent to sign a shoe deal, making her the first WNBA player to join the company's new Converse Hoops roster. But Cloud's ability on the court was not the only factor that contributed to Converse's decision to add her to its cohort, according to a statement from the company on its Instagram account. 

Cloud was supposed to make the announcement of her signing late last month but decided it would have to wait following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nine minutes. Cloud shared in the nation's pain and anger following these events and chose to postpone her announcement while joining in the protests in her hometown of Philadelphia.

In signing Cloud, Converse remarked that not only her ability to play but her ability to inspire change within her community made her an ideal candidate to represent the brand:

Natasha Cloud most recently shared a powerful piece on @playerstribune against the racial injustices that are affecting Black people in American, and then took to the streets of Philly to demand that message be heard. This is one of the many reasons we are both proud and humbled to welcome WNBA champion @t_cloud9 to the family.

In addition to her fight for racial justice, Cloud participates in Monumental Sports and Entertainment's "Christmas in July" and helped the KaBoom! Playground Build in Ward 8. She has also been active in advocating for action against gun violence in D.C. - among many other times she's spoken out, in 2019, she held a media blackout to draw attention to shootings that had occurred near elementary schools in D.C. 

To support her decision to postpone the announcement, Converse also made a $25,000 donation to an unnamed racial justice organization in Philadelphia and plans to release a film that features Cloud's demand for change, according to the Washington Post.

As Converse announced it will reenter the performance basketball shoe market as of April 2019, Cloud will join a new family of athletes like Draymond Green and former Wizard Kelly Oubre Jr. as well as some of the game's all-time greatest like Julius Erving, Dwyane Wade, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Dennis Rodman. 

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Natasha Cloud becomes first WNBA player to sign a shoe deal with Converse originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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