Neymar Signs with Puma for Long-Term Partnership

Neymar is reppin’ a new brand…

Puma has announced the signing of the 28-year-old Brazilian soccer star after the Paris Saint-Germain player left Nike following a 15-year association.

Neymar’s arrival was announced on the Puma website alongside the banner “The king is back” and “Welcome to the family Neymar JR.”

Neymar wrote in a statement on his Twitter page: “At the beginning of each new season, I take some time to think about my career and the choices I have made. I think about the dreams I had when I started this sport, and the path that lies ahead.

“This will be a different season, a special season. For that reason, as I have done in the past, I decided to write this text.

“I am about to live a unique experience, a new challenge. I consider myself privileged to have had a life filled with unique experiences and wonderful challenges.

“I grew up watching videos of great football legends such as Pele, Cruyff, Matthaus, Eusebio and Maradona … These were the kings of the pitch, the kings of my sport. And they had something in common — a love of the game, a drive to be the best version of themselves and a spirit that unites all. It’s not always about being the best or the greatest but instead, to inspire future generations. That is exactly what I have dreamt of for myself, to give all of me to football because football has given me everything I have. I want to do it my way, using my gift.

“New challenges, new responsibilities, I understand that. I wish to bring back the legacy that those athletes created on the pitch. I was to help bring back memories from each of their football histories and the magic they gave us in their classic leather boots — and through boots like those, leave behind my own legacy. They each played in PUMA, and each of them created their magic in The KING.

“And so now, as I begin this new season, I want the KING to reign on the pitch and inspire generations as it has inspired me and others.

“To be in this project, associating myself to those Kings of football, through KING, it is a dream. For these reasons, from today onward, I have the honour to unite with the brand that helped the biggest legends of football become what they are. Every time I lace my boots, my KING boots, I will do anything to achieve all of my dreams to honour my name and that of all those great ones who wore the KING before me. This will be my PUMA history. The KING is back!”

Sources told ESPN that only four executives knew about the deal to land Neymar and it was “a big secret in the company” that they had been working to sign the player for several months.

He returned to training with PSG on Friday after missing their opening Ligue 1 fixture of the campaign, a 1-0 defeat at Lens, following a positive test for the coronavirus.

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for a world-record €222 million fee and has won three Ligue 1 titles in Paris. He also helped the French club reach the Champions League final in August, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

During his time at Barca he won the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and two La Liga titles.

Lionel Messi: The World’s Highest-Paid Latino on Forbes’ The Celebrity 100 List

Lionel Messi is kickin’ his way to the top of the earnings charts…

The 33-year-old Argentine soccer star, who plays for FC Barcelona, is the top-earning Latinx celebrity on Forbes’ recently released The Celebrity 100 list, which ranks the world’s highest-paid celebrities of 2020.

Lionel Messi

Messi, who has been awarded both FIFA’s Ballon d’Or and the European Golden Shoe for top scorer on the continent a record six times, comes in at No. 5 with earning of $104 million.

His current contract with Barcelona is through 2020-21 and pays him more than $80 million annually. He also has a lifelong deal with Adidas, and he launched his own clothing line and opened his first retail outlet, The Messi Store, in September 2019 in Barcelona.

The World Health Organization (WHO) tapped Messi in March 2020 to help lead a worldwide campaign aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nipping on Messi’s heels is another soccer star and his former teammate… Neymar.

The 28-year-old Brazilian soccer player comes in at No. 7 on the list with earning of $95.5 million.

Neymar is currently on a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain through June 2022 worth $350 million in salary.

His transfer from Barcelona to PSG stands as the most expensive in the world at $263 million, which the French club paid in full ahead of his signing.

He’s the second most popular athlete on social media with a combined 244 million followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Nike‘s Jordan Brand signed Neymar as its first soccer ambassador in 2016. In March 2020 its film unit released a movie about his life.

Jennifer Lopez is this year’s highest-paid Latina on the list.

The 51-year-old Puerto Rican superstar comes in at No. 56 on the list with earnings of $47.5 million.

One of the more popular celebrities when it comes to endorsements, J.Lo has deals with Versace, DSW, Quay sunglasses and her own fragrance.

In 2018, she played her final shows at Las Vegas’ Zappos Theater, grossing more than $100 million in two years–the top Vegas residency by a Latin artist. She tacked on another $55 million in 2019 ticket sales for her ensuing world tour, which included stops in Egypt, Israel and Russia.

Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his first appearance on The Celebrity 100.

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican actor/rapper/lyricist/composer and Broadway star, the creator of the hit musical Hamilton, comes in at No. 62 with earning of $45.5 million.

Disney acquired worldwide rights to the film version of Hamilton in February 2020 for $75 million. And he helped create a $1 million emergency relief fund to benefit artists impacted by COVID-19 in Puerto Rico.

Other Latinx celebrities making the list include Howie Dorough (as a member of Backstreet Boys); Sofia Vergara, the world’s highest-paid actress; Robert Trujillo (as a member of Metallica); tennis star Rafael Nadal; and Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez.

Forbes’ list ranks “front of the camera” stars around the globe using pretax earnings from June 2019 through May 2020 before deducting fees for managers, lawyers and agents. Figures are based on information from Nielsen Music/MRC Data, Pollstar, IMDB, NPD BookScan and ComScore as well as interviews with industry experts and many of the stars themselves.

In total, the 100 celebrities racked in a total of $6.1 billion in pretax earnings, which took a $200 million dip from last year after the pandemic halted — or rather redirected — lots of business models.

Here’s a look at the Latino/a celebrities who made the list this year:

No. 5 Lionel Messi, 33, Argentina, Soccer, $104 million

No. 7 Neymar, 28, Brazil, Soccer, $95.5 million
No. 56 Jennifer Lopez, 51, USA (Puerto Rican), Entertainment, $47.5 million

No. 62 Lin-Manuel Miranda, 40, USA (Puerto Rican), Entertainment, $45.5 million
No. 64 Howie Dorough (Backstreet Boys), 47, USA (Half-Puerto Rican), Music, $45 million
No. 71 Sofia Vergara, 48, Colombia, Entertainment, $43 million

No. 78 Robert Trujillo (Metallica), 55, USA (Half-Mexican)Music, $40.5 million
No. 80 Rafael Nadal, 34, Spain, Tennis, $40 million
No. 91 Canelo Alvarez, 30, Mexico, Boxing, $37 million

Click here for the complete list.

STXtv Developing Chicano-Themed Series “Once Upon a Time in Aztlan” to Star George Lopez

George Lopez has a little Timeon his hands for an ode to California’s Chicano culture…

STXtv is developing Once Upon a Time in Aztlan, a new television series anchored by the 59-year-old Mexican American actor/stand up comedian.

George Lopez

The project includes the participation of  famed photographer Estevan Oriol and iconic Los Angeles-based artist Mister Cartoon aka Mark Machado.

Michael Connolly, under his Mad Hatter Entertainment banner, brought the elements together. 

Lopez is in final talks to star and executive produce the project through his Travieso Productions, with Javier Rodriguez writing the pilot. Oriol and Cartoon will executive-produce.

“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Cartoon, Estevan, Jada and Michael for this series and developing a show with STXtv,” Lopez said. “Cartoon and Estevan are the DaVincis of our community; they have been the street chroniclers of our uniquely Chicano story … our American story. I’m looking forward to working with them and the rest of the team to expand their canvas to capture the diverse stories and people that make our culture and community so amazing, colorful and vibrant.”

This authentic L.A.-based series examines a family coming to terms with the falsehoods of the American Dream and their ability to defy expectations.

“I want to create a vision of Los Angeles inspired by my tattoos and murals that enriches and showcases the culture, opening it up to new audiences,” Cartoon said. “Putting together the dream team of Latino street culture and a collection of creative minds headed up by George Lopez, who is born and raised in L.A. and is an icon of our community. George’s experience and sense of humor acts as a foundation for this team.”

The pilot will be directed by Ricardo de Montreuil, who helmed Eva Longoria and Demián Bichir in the Blumhouse/Imagine East L.A.-set drama, Lowriders.During that production, he worked closely with Oriol and Cartoon, who were also involved in the production. 

Oriol and Cartoon’s longtime collaborators Mark Suroff and Marco Valadez, who produced LA Originals, also will serve as executive producers with Connolly.

“I’m looking forward to developing this with Cartoon, George, Jada and Michael,” said Oriol. “STXtv truly gets what it takes to develop a real show that can only be made in LA. This is the dream team. Period. It doesn’t get more authentic than this and I’m proud and privileged to be invited on this ride.”

Lopez recently released his first Netflix comedy special

He previously starred in Lopez for TV Land and Saint George for FX. And he had a talk show that ran from 2009-11. While his hit comedy George Lopez, whichended in 2007, ran on ABC, STXtv will zero in on buyers in the cable and streaming markets.

Cartoon is L.A.’s legendary tattoo artist, designer and cultural icon whose stylish and influential global work has been featured on countless celebrities including Kobe BryantEminemDr. Dre50 CentBeyoncéLewis HamiltonSnoop Dogg and many others. Cartoon also designed the logos for Cypress Hill and Eminem’s Shady Records, and his résumé includes cutting-edge designs for Nike, the LA Clippers and T-Mobile and others.

Oriol is an internationally celebrated photographer, director and urban lifestyle entrepreneur. Beginning as a tour manager for Cypress Hill and House of Pain, he developed a passion for photography as he documented life on the road to become hip-hop’s best-known chronicler; his work has been showcased in bestselling books, select galleries, and institutions, including the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives,Mesa Contemporary Art CenterPetersen Automotive Museum, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ and New York’s Art in the Streets exhibit. He has photographed Eminem, Kim Kardashian, Cypress Hill, Dennis HopperBlink-182Forest Whitaker, Robert De NiroAl PacinoKendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, and Danny Trejo, among many others. He most recently executive produced the film Lowridersand directed the hit Netflix documentary L.A. Originals.

L.A. Originalswas critically acclaimed and extremely successful, introducing new fans to the world to Oriol and Cartoon.

Lionel Messi: The World’s Highest Paid Latino Athlete

Lionel Messi is breaking the bank…

The 32-year-old Argentine soccer star is the highest-paid Latino on Forbes’ list of this year’s The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes.

Lionel Messi

Messi comes in at No. 3 on the list, behind Roger Federer and Cristiano Ronaldo, with earning reported at $104 million.

The Futbol Club Barcelona star’s earnings includes his $72 million salary with his team, as well as  $32 million in endorsements, including his lifelong deal with Adidas.

Nipping on Messi’s heels… Neymar.

The 28-year-old Brazilian footballer, on a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain through June 2022 worth $350 million, comes in at No. 4 with combined earnings of $95.5 million. 

Nike‘s Jordan Brand signed Neymar as its first soccer ambassador in 2016. In March 2020, its film unit released a movie about his life.

Messi and Ronaldo had previously held the No. 1 spot in three of the past four years.

Rafael Nadal comes in at No. 27 on the list.

The 33-year-old tennis star has combined earnings of $40 million. The greatest clay court player of his generation captured two of Grand Slam titles in 2019, his 12th French Open title and fourth U.S. Open.

Here’s a look at the Latino athletes making this year’s top earners list.

No. 3:  Lionel Messi, Soccer, Argentine, $104 million
No. 4:  Neymar, Soccer, Brazil, $95.5 million
No. 27:  Rafael Nadal, Tennis, Spain, $40 million
No. 30:  Canelo Alvarez, Boxing, Mexico, $37 million
No. 46:  Andres Iniesta, Soccer, Spain, $29.6 million
No. 56: Oscar, Soccer, Brazil, $27.5 million
No. 67: David de Gea, Soccer, Spain,  $25.7 million
No. 69: Alexis Sanchez, Soccer, Chile, $25.6 million
No. 79: Al Horford, Basketball, Dominican Republic, $24.4 million
No. 100: Sergio Ramos, Soccer, Spain, $21.8 million

J Balvin Debuts His New Nike Jordan Shoe During Super Bowl Halftime Show

J Balvinis showing off his new sneaker… 

During Sunday’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, the Colombian reggaeton singer performed alongside Jennifer Lopez, while donning his new Nike sneaker.

J Balvin & Jennifer Lopez

The neon-rainbow-hued shoe with a pink-tinted sole is the first collaboration between J Balvin and Nike’s Air Jordan 1 line, according to Billboard.

The wild design, which features a Miami-appropriate rainbow-packed upper with extended edges, exposed sponge on the tongue, and a happy face logo stamped on the heel.

J Balvin's Nike Air Jordan 1

Beyond his impressive footwear, J Balvin stuck close to home, wearing black track pants and a black hoodie from his own merch collection, with the words “Made In Medellín” emblazoned on the front in his trademark, colorful hues. Also on the hoodie: a flower with a smiley face in the middle.

Anuel AA Appears in Foot Locker & Nike’s “We Live Sneakers” Campaign

Anuel AA is swooshin’ it up…

The Puerto Rican rapper and singerhas joined Foot Locker to recognize the history of Nike’s swoosh in a digital campaign called “We Live Sneakers.”

Anuel AA

Anuel’s look is very sporty. In fact, sneakers are his biggest passion, especially if he finds a nice red pair.

“I am very excited of being part of this campaign,” Anuel AA tells Billboard. “This is huge for me, another accomplished milestone. I couldn’t ask for more, plus I’ve been a Nike fan in forever. This is something that I use every day.”

The campaign celebrates the launch of the Foot Locker, Inc. exclusive Evolution of the Swoosh footwear and apparel collection which will be available on August 10, followed by the “Swoosh Chain” and “Sunburst” packs on August 17 and August 31, respectively.

“Anuel AA represents the vast diversity of sneakerheadsworldwide who love the swoosh,” says Patrick Walsh, vice president of marketing, Foot Locker North America. The campaign also features Bay Area star D’Angelo Russell and musicians Da Baby and Justine Skye.

“’We Live Sneakers’ celebrates sneaker culture in its totality, and it was important for us to pay homage to the global community that’s made Foot Locker part of every stage of people’s lives,” adds Walsh.

Marcelo D2 Releases Anti-Violence Album and Short Film

Marcelo D2 is speaking out about the violence in Rio de Janeiro through new music…

The 50-year-old Brazilian rapper has released a new album accompanied by a short film. Amar é para os Fortes premiered Friday exclusively on Apple Music.

Marcelo D2

The album was produced by Mario Caldaro Jr. of Beastie Boys fame, while the film was produced, written and directed by Marcelo D2.

The project is described as “a musical chronicle of Rio de Janeiro’s reality: violence, drugs, friends and enemies, family, art, hope, love.”

The nearly-wordless half-hour movie features eight of the record’s ten tracks. Stephan Peixoto, Marcelo D2’s son, plays Sinistro, who discovers a world away from the gangs and guns in the favela when he finds work in an art gallery and is embraced by artists and musicians.

Described by the artist as “an album to watch,” the story, based on his own, is a stylish street opera that illustrates arts role in social change.

The film includes the information that there were 300,000 violent deaths in Brazil in the last ten years, and 71 percent of the victims were young and black.

Gilberto Gil and Seu Jorge are among the real-life Brazilian artists who make cameos in the film, which counted on Nike, Pernod Ricard and Casio as sponsors.

Click here for the video on Apple Music.

 

Bufoni Signs Exclusive Nike SB Shoe Sponsorship Deal & Clothing Contract

Leticia Bufoni is ready to just do it

The Brazilian skateboard star, a three-time X Games gold medalist, has officially joined the Nike SB team after signing an exclusive shoe sponsorship deal and clothing contract.

Leticia Bufoni

Bufoni announced the news via social media from Paris, where she’s competing in the Far’n High International Skateboard Contest (a Nike SB-sponsored event) this weekend, before traveling to X Games Austin to defend her Women’s Skateboard Street gold medal.

Details of the Nike contract haven’t been disclosed, but Bufoni’s management team described it as an unprecedented sponsorship deal for a female skateboarder and a “meaningful, multi-year commitment from Nike.”

“Thanks to the entire crew from Volcom and Osiris Shoes for all your support over the years,” Bufoni wrote, referring to her two longtime former sponsors. Osiris supported her as far back as 2008, when she was featured in the grom team video Children of the Revolution.

In 2013 Osiris released a limited-edition Bufoni shoe as part of its Rider Revolt line and you can find more about these shoes reading reviews in different sites like shoeadviser.com that promote the best shoes online.

“It has been great working with these brands and they will always be special to me,” she wrote. “Today, I’m entering a new chapter in my skate career as I’m excited and honored to announce that I’m joining the Nike SB family.”

Nike Brazil spokeswoman Rochelle Rosenblatt said the company had originally planned to hold the news until Monday, but allowed Bufoni to make a social media announcement first since she’s skating in Stefan Janoski‘s signature Nike SB shoe — men’s size 5 — at Far’n High.

“For us it’s amazing to have Leticia on the team and for Nike to be able to show the power of women through her eyes,” Rosenblatt said. “She’s young and brings a lot of diversity to the team, not just because she’s a woman but because she’s one of the best Brazilian skaters. We plan to use Leticia in our campaigns and will be working closely with her, but this is all very new: we’re excited to see where it leads.”

Bufoni had a phenomenal year in 2013, winning X Games gold in the Women’s Skateboard Street event in front of her home crowd in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil and again in Los Angeles, as well as in the debut of the Real Women video contest in Barcelona. She has made the podium in every X Games Women’s Skateboard Street contest since 2010, winning silver in 2010 and 2012 and bronze in 2011, has been the top-ranked female skater on the World Cup Skateboarding circuit for four years running, and was a nominee for Female Action Sports Athlete Of The Year at ESPN‘s 2013 ESPY Awards.

First Glimpse at Shakira’s Son, Milan

He’s not even a week old, but Milan Piqué Mebarak already has some pumped up kicks…

Shakira’s first child with soccer star Gerard Piqué, born on January 22, appears in an adorable photo posted by Piqué on his Twitter account.

Milan Pique Mebarak

Labeled “Milan’s feet,” the image shows the newborn wearing Nike sneakers with his name embroidered in the red and blue colors of Pique’s soccer club, FC Barcelona.

Amador Bernabeu, Pique’s grandfather, registered Milan as Barcelona member No. 171,761 on Wednesday, just hours after the new The Voice coach gave birth at a hospital in Barcelona.

The club’s current vice president, Jordi Cardoner, came to the 35-year-old Colombian superstar’s room at Clinica Teknon in person to deliver a tiny Barcelona jersey for Milan.

Pique posted on Twitter late Wednesday a photo of Cardoner and himself with the jersey.
Gerard Pique

Shakira last appeared in public on Jan.uar 14 at an event in Barcelona to introduce a book written by her father, William Mebarak.

Hometown Héroe: Paducah’s Photography Star Matt Hernandez

Hometown Heroes Banner

He’s only been shooting professionally for about a year and a half, but Matt Hernandez is well on his way to becoming the next big name in sports photographer.

Matt Hernandez

The 31-year-old half-Mexican photographer recently claimed the People’s Choice award at the Google+ Photographers Conference in San Francisco with one of his Sports Illustrated-worthy images. Hernandez, who saw all three of his submitted images selected for public voting from more than 200 entries, was one of 18 finalists vying for the peer-determined prize.

“After I entered my work, I didn’t really think about the fact that I could win an award from it; I went for the sole purpose of bettering my work and building my social network,” admits Hernandez. “So it was such an honor to be recognized by my peers, and also by photographers that I look up to!”

Matt Hernandez's Photography

Despite his award-winning skills behind the lens, Hernandez didn’t initially pursue a career in photography. The Paducah, Kentucky-native with a passion for art actually studied graphic design in college.

“It was a natural choice being that I always loved to draw,” says Hernandez, whose work was featured in Graphic Design USA magazine. “I started drawing at an early age, doodling superheroes and Nike shoes as a kid. I actually sent a shoe sketch to Nike and got a letter back from the company. I thought it was the coolest thing ever!”

After graduating from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Arts in studio art, Hernandez moved to Nashville to work as a professional designer.

“I designed print material for Sunday school curriculum, then I moved into the sports industry and began working at Athlon Sports,” recalls Hernandez, who won two consecutive design-related awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America for his work. “I almost didn’t go to my interview for Athlon because I was going to a Notre Dame football game! But I’m glad I did, because the job at Athlon helped me land jobs at IMG and the University of Kentucky Athletic Department.”

Matt Hernandez's Photography

But it wasn’t until after spending seven years working as a professional graphic designer and game-changing move back to his hometown that Hernandez discovered his true calling.

“I was actually planning to start a web design company with my best friend. I had always been interested in photography, so I decided I would take a class while we were getting things settled for our new business venture,” says Hernandez. “I took a photography class at the local community college and when I came home, my wife pointed out how excited I was about it. It was then that I found my true passion for photography.”

To fuel his passion, Hernandez started going to local sporting events and taking action photos to see where it led him.

“I had a parent of one of the football players ask me to do a session for his son and a couple of his friends, and that’s all it took for my photography business to take off,” reveals Hernandez, who now shoots local sports teams, senior and family portraits and some weddings. “I’m doing some work for the local county schools, as well as some local businesses.”

Matt Hernandez's Photography

So what separates Hernandez from other photographers? It could very well be the way he’s been able to merge his creativity behind the camera with his graphic design skills to create awe-inspiring images.

“In the beginning, my Photoshop experience definitely helped me fix errors I made when I was still learning how to work the camera properly,” admits Hernandez. “As a designer, I already had a good sense of composition. And I’m big into composites, so my design background has helped me tremendously in developing composites that are realistic and artistic.”

Since catching the attention of his peers at the Google+ Photographers Conference with his realistically artistic images, Hernandez has seen his star rise, especially on social media pages like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

“In a sense everyone is viewing these sites, so it’s basically free advertising,” declares Hernandez, who lists Scott Kelby, Jeremy Cowart, Peter Hurley, Joel Grimes and Dean Bradshaw among his favorites photographers. “People really get a feel for your work and your personality through interactions on these sites. If people see that you are a good, down-to-earth person, they want to work with you.”

Matt Hernandez's Photography

So what’s next for Hernandez, who recently conducted one of his most memorable shoots: photographing his one-year-old niece.

“Sports is my passion, so I’m hoping to start attracting clients outside of Paducah,” says Hernandez, who says the favorite part of his job is seeing his clients’ reactions when they see their photos. “My goal is to shift to photographing college and professional athletes, as well as some corporate sports photography.”

With his crazy-cool creativity, award-winning talent and inextinguishable passion, there’s no doubt Hernandez’s work will be featured in Sports Illustrated in the near future.

To see more of Hernandez’s stellar work, visit his website.

Matt Hernandez's Photography

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