I briefly mentioned Brandon Jennings yesterday and then came to find out that the soon-to-be overseas youngster just signed a deal with UnderArmour. Since right around the 2008 NBA Draft, I had heard rumors from many industry insiders about UnderArmour making a push into the basketball shoe market. Derrick Rose’s name was mentioned as the company’s first NBA client, but a few sources quickly told me that UA was being dropped by Rose’s advisors to try to drive up his price to other suitors. Those sources explained that UnderArmour would wait until the Fall before making any moves. Fall is just a couple of days old, and already, UnderArmour has entered its name into the game of basketball.
From UnderArmour’s press release:
The signing of Jennings comes on the heels of the brand’s recent announcement that it would outfit the University of Maryland mens’ and women’s basketball teams head-to-toe next year. Under Armour also sponsored the third annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 high school basketball showcase this past summer as well as the sponsorship of the Capital Classic last April.
“We are proud to welcome Brandon Jennings as the first Under Armour basketball athlete,” said Kevin Plank, Under Armour, Chairman and CEO. “He is an extremely talented and fearless player with the skill set to become a game-changer internationally. Brandon’s attitude and his dedication to hard-work make him the ideal athlete to represent the Under Armour brand.”
“I am extremely excited to be the first athlete selected to represent Under Armour Basketball,” said Jennings. I’ve always prided myself on being one step ahead of the pack and true to my beliefs like my journey to play professionally in Europe. I look forward to my role as a global ambassador for Under Armour basketball.”
“Brandon has the ability to perform at the highest levels and the personality to capture the imagination of the public,” said basketball advisor to Jennings, Sonny Vaccaro. He is without a doubt one of the most driven players that I have ever watched and by choosing to play in Europe as a high school player, he is doing what no other basketball player has ever done. This will go down in history as a landmark decision…. from Compton to Rome….Brandon Jennings did it first.”
In October 2008, Under Armour will launch a special Brandon Jennings blog on www.underarmour.com. The blog will allow fans the opportunity to follow Brandon’s experiences in Rome and his pursuit of his athletic goals.
I’ll be adding that feed to my RSS reader! This is very exciting news, and I am happy for Jennings and UnderArmour. I believe that both entities will benefit tremendously from this relationship. Two young entrepreneurs, one a basketball and another an equipment manufacturer are aligned in a partnership that should last for a while.
I wonder how much the deal between Jennings and UA is for. Any thoughts? The top of this year’s NBA Draft class did not get much more than $1 million.