Nike is closing in on an eight-figure deal with basketball star Kaitlyn Clark ahead of her professional debut

Nike Inc. is getting closer. of closing an eight-figure endorsement deal with basketball star Caitlin Clark ahead of her scheduled professional debut in May, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

Indiana Fever's Kaitlin Clark, center, poses with general manager Lin Dunn, left, and head coach Christy Sides after a WNBA basketball press conference. (AP Photo/Daron Cummings)(AP)

Clark, who was selected as the top pick in the WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever this month after one of the greatest college careers ever, was sponsored by Nike through a name, image and likeness agreement during her time as a student-athlete. At the University of Iowa.

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A Nike spokesman declined to comment on the matter.

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Nike will release a signature shoe for Clark

Clark is expected to have a signature shoe line with Nike, as the world's largest sportswear company assembles a lineup of young basketball players, with top-selling names such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant approaching retirement. She joins a group of Nike stars in their 20s with sneaker franchises, including Ja Morant, Zion Williamson and Devin Booker.

Nike CEO John Donahue mentioned Clark on a conference call with investors and analysts in March. Nike featured Clark in a commercial that aired that month, shortly after she broke the NCAA record.

Women's sports are attracting more attention from major sports brands as viewership rises and more stars emerge, but few have given female athletes their own sneaker lines.

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Nike released a signature shoe with New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu in September. Donahue said Ionescu's shoes “resonate deeply across genders” as more NBA players adopt her sneakers on the court. The Puma SE also has a shared line with teammate, two-time Most Valuable Player Breanna Stewart.

The Athletic first reported that Clarke was close to reaching a deal with Nike.

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