On the day he made his NBA debut, there was off the court news involving the NBA’s number one overall draft pick. Fanatics announced an exclusive deal with Detroit rookie Cade Cunningham just before the Pistons game against the Orlando Magic.
The 20-year-old has already had an autograph session with the company, with several different items listed on the company’s website.
Cunningham played one season at Oklahoma State, averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game and earning first team All-American honors. A sprained ankle suffered on the first day of training camp cost him the entire preseason with the Pistons but he finally took the court Saturday night in a win over the Orlando Magic, contributed seven rebounds, two points and two steals in limited action as he continues to work his way back to full strength. His first game came 40 years to the day after the debut of Pistons great Isiah Thomas.
Despite the slow start to his NBA career, Cunningham showed enough in the NBA Summer League that he’s listed among the early favorites for NBA Rookie of the Year.
“There are a lot of different reasons why I was picked No. 1, but I think it is just who I am as a person,” Cunningham told The Undefeated. “ One of the main reasons is the Pistons are confident that I can be good in any room and can communicate with people. That’s something you really want. And the first pick is somebody that can turn into a leader for your team and be a franchise guy.”
So far, Cunningham has signed jerseys, basketballs and photos for Fanatics, with additional merchandise expected to be added. There’s also an unsigned photo on the page where his autographs are listed. Depending on the item, prices range from $249.99-$549.99 with signed and “No.1 Draft Pick” inscriptions adding another $100.