Sneakers Rumors

But Dragan Bender never suited up for the Croatians, who were considered one of the gold-medal contenders along with the U.S., Turkey, Greece and Serbia. News broke on the first day of the tournament that Bender was out, due to the fact that he’s signed to an exclusive endorsement contract with adidas, and the Croatian federation was taking a hard-line stance on its players wearing Jordans or Nikes, in order not to jeopardize its own lucrative contract with Jordan Brand. Neither side budged, and so Bender watched Croatia’s first two games from the stands, flanked by his Italian agent, Maurizio Balducci, and then flew home on Monday. NBA scouts—not to mention media and Croatian fans—were dismayed. A different scout told SI, “It just boggles my mind that the Croatian federation, which should be trying to win tournaments, did something that prevented its best prospect from playing.”
Is it true that you took significantly less money to be on Team Jordan? What led to that decision? Jimmy Butler: I’ve always been a fan of Mike and his game. What he did for the game of basketball as a whole, and what he did off the court for it too, whether it was with Hanes or his shoe brand. But I’ve always been a fan of the tennis shoe. So when I got an opportunity to switch from Adidas to Jordan, I just thought it was the right choice, because I’ve never had problems with my feet. I’m not bashing Adidas at all, but I got turf toe one year and rolled my ankles a few times. That’s never happened, whenever I was at Marquette with Jordan or before that, with Nike. So I thought maybe I should go back to that shoe. And then Jordan picked me up.
Did any of your Adidas-wearing teammates [like Derrick Rose] try to convince you to stay on Adidas? Jimmy Butler: No. No. You can’t convince me, once my mind’s made up. They already knew. I was probably telling them halfway through the season, whenever it is, “When this year’s over, y’all can count on not seeing me in Adidas. I’m gonna be straight Jordan-ed out.” Now I’m never wanting to leave Brand Jordan.
The Nike KD 8 isn’t the only Kevin Durant sneaker being unveiled today. Durant also took to his Instagram to show off this, the Nike KD 8 NSW Lifestyle. Nike Sportswear takes on signature silhouettes have been standard for a couple of years now, and this one follows in that tradition by using minimal branding and a build that’s nothing like the coinciding KD 8. There is no sneaker release date yet for the Lifestyle KD 8.
From strength in numbers to strength in dollars, our Golden State Warriors dominated the court and will now score some big-time endorsement deals. NBA MVP Stephen Curry is a fast-rising star. He already has endorsement deals with several national brands like Under Armour athletic wear. “Those sponsors are growing as we speak,” Ben Shapiro, a marketing expert from Pivot Sports Marketing, told ABC7 News.
When we spoke with spelling bee champ and sneakerhead Gokul Venkatachalam following his co-champion finish at the 88th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, he mentioned that he was looking for a sneaker endorsement. He doesn’t have a contract yet, but he did get sent a very special package from LeBron James. Gokul, 14, actually wore a LeBron James jersey under his shirt during the National Spelling Bee and he’s been a fan of the NBA player since he was seven years old. LeBron’s camp reached out to Gokul following the spelling bee. After heading back home to St. Louis, Gokul received two boxes of footwear. One, from the LeBron James Family Foundation, had a pair of LeBron’s Nike LeBron 11 Elite player exclusives. The other, from the Cleveland Cavaliers, had a pair of the LeBron 12 “All Star” signed by LeBron with the special message: “Congrats on being spelling ‘B’ champ.” The packages also contained Cavs gear, Beats headphones, and other goodies.
Even athletes with Nike contracts aren’t immune to spending wild amounts of money on sneakers. Just ask Rudy Gay, small forward for the Sacramento Kings, who has some 700 pairs of sneakers in his collection. In a new interview with Footwear News, Gay says that that he bought a pair of Air Yeezys, no word on which model or colorway, for $1,500 online. Ironically, Gay actually got a free pair from Nike the very next week.
When Steph Curry suits up for tonight’s Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals, he’ll be wearing his Under Armour Curry 1 sig shoe in a straightforward Golden State Warriors colorway. It’s a little surprising that Under Armour didn’t create some sort of post-season special for Curry, but there’s still plenty of time for him to break out some exclusives. In a quick clip from Bleacher Report, shown above, Curry discusses his options as far as footwear throughout the series. Even though the NBA season is winding down and the Curry 2 is coming, this likely isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Curry 1. There’s no doubt that Under Armour has a “Championship” colorway waiting in the wings should Curry and the Golden State Warriors emerge triumphant.
Under Armour took steps last month to protect its investment in NBA MVP Stephen Curry. The shoe and apparel company, which signed Curry in 2013 after Nike passed on matching its competitor’s offer, filed to trademark a bevy of terms related to the Golden State Warriors guard who will play in his first NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. The most familiar phrase the company filed for was “Charged By Belief,” a phrase Under Armour had been using with Curry since launching his signature shoe in February, but surprisingly didn’t move to trademark until May 21. Other trademarks filed that same week included “Fall Back,” “The Game’s New Creative Genius,” “The Patron Saint of Underdogs,” “Baby-Faced Assassin” and “The League’s Most Unguardable Player.”
“Jimmy never wanted to do anything until he felt that he was worthy of it,” says Happy Walters, Butler’s agent at Los Angeles-based Relativity Sports. ”Now he’s more confident and more willing.” Butler, who declined an interview request about his business profile, is selective in what he promotes, his agent says. Out of personal preference, he opted to drop Adidas as his official apparel brand in favor of Nike’s Jordan brand last year, taking what Walters says was a 75 percent pay cut.
A 3-year old lawsuit between Michael Jordan and Chinese sporting goods retailer Qiaodan has escalated to China’s Supreme Court, according to a report from Reuters. In 2012, Jordan sued Qiaodan Sports, claiming that the Fujian-based manufacturer built its business around his Chinese name and jersey number ’23’ without consent. Since the 80s, he’s been widely known as Qiaodan throughout China. However, earlier this year, a court ruled in favor of Qiaodan over the trademark dispute, which was then upheld by the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court. “In light of the trademark dispute ruling, we intend to appeal to the Supreme People’s Court for retrial,” Jordan’s legal team said in a statement. They added that a separate case with Qiaodan Sports over naming right is still ongoing.
On how much Nike gear he’s accumulated over the years: Nowitzki: “What I do is, you can order these days. When you represent Nike, you can’t always wear the older stuff. You can’t walk in and wear clothes from five-six years ago. So what I do is, some older stuff, once in a while I pack some bags and take it to Germany with me. I’ve got a bunch of guy friends that I grew up with that play basketball that are also 6-11, 6-10, 7-feet. And they usually clean me out. They can have everything, old shirts, old sweaters, sweatsuits and everything, shorts, shoes.”
Under Armour Inc. lost a two-horse race with Nike Inc. for the NBA’s on-court apparel rights, but it’s not entirely out of the game. Sources said the Baltimore sportswear maker is in talks to end up with a second-prize of sorts: an apparel license that would allow it to sell performance apparel and fan wear with NBA logos, likely within limited distribution — such as its own retail locations and team shops. “As an enhancement to Under Armour’s performance apparel, an NBA license would be valuable,” said Milt Arenson, CEO of venue merchandising specialist Facility Merchandising Inc. “But what they really need more is some hit footwear.”