WNBA Star Natasha Cloud Becomes First Female Basketball Player to Sign with Converse

Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud is making sneaker history

The 2019 WNBA champion recently signed an endorsement deal with Converse, becoming the first female basketball player to ever ink a deal with the storied athletic brand.

The company made the announcement with a post to Instagram on Monday and alluded to Cloud's passionate social justice work as one of the "many reasons" they partnered with her.

It was shortly after the death of George Floyd — a black man who died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck — that Cloud published a piece in the Player's Tribune called, “Your Silence Is a Knee on My Neck.” In it, she urged athletes to use their platforms to spur change in the country.

"As a black person in America, there’s only one thing that could possibly BE on my mind. And that’s fearing for my life," she wrote in the essay.

"It’s fearing for my life, and for the life of every other person who is guilty of nothing more than belonging to a race that this country has been built on oppressing," she continued. "It’s wanting to stay alive — in a time where the reality for a lot of people is that my staying alive doesn’t matter."

Converse referenced Cloud's emotional essay in their signing announcement.

"Natasha Cloud most recently shared a powerful piece on @playerstribune against the racial injustices that are affecting Black people in America, and then took to the streets of Philly to demand that message be heard," the company wrote on Instagram.

"This is one of many reasons we are both proud and humbled to welcome WNBA champion @t__cloud9 to the family," they continued.

Converse was acquired by Nike in 2003 and is home to other prominent athletes such as Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and Kelly Oubre Jr. of the Phoenix Suns.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.

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