Brandon Jennings: Nike Kept Me Off Team USA
Despite his stellar — and at times, downright spectacular — rookie season, Brandon Jennings didn’t get so much as a glance from Team USA officials. The fact that fellow rookie point guards Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry did understandably irks him.
Brandon Jennings established himself as one of the NBA’s top young guards last season, but that wasn’t enough for him to get invited to try out for the U.S. world championship team like fellow rookies Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry. Jennings thinks he knows one of the factors why. Evans and Curry both wear Nike, Team USA’s big sponsor. Jennings wears Under Armour shoes.
“It’s not my call. That’s on them,” Jennings told Yahoo! Sports. “But if you want to get technical about it and you really want to look at it, half of the guys there are Nike guys. I’m not saying it’s a Nike thing, but Nike is kind of running a lot of things right now. To have a guy like myself on the USA team that’s flashy and really outgoing, you don’t want Under Armour to get all that [publicity]. “I’m just telling you how it is.”
There’s always been a certain uneasiness around the fact that shoe giants play such a major role in the Team USA process — remember Michael Jordan and others covering the Reebok logo with the U.S. flag at the ’92 Olympics?
Jennings’ allegations will only serve to feed that fire.