Blog Entry

Sometimes it hurts to not be affiliated with Nike

Posted on: June 8, 2009 4:04 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2009 4:09 pm

Martavious Newby is one of the better young prospects in the city of Memphis.

He had an interesting quote in Monday's newspaper about Memphis' Elite Camp.

"I was about to go to Tennessee's camp up there, but I changed my mind," Newby told The Commercial Appeal . "I mean, I like Tennessee, but I had to come over here and see how it is, because I like Memphis. That's where I might be going. So I told my high school coach I changed my mind."

Changed his mind?

"I love him to death," Newby's AAU coach, Keith Easterwood, told on Monday. "But he never had a mind to change."

Before you can understand this story -- and, specifically, how Memphis ended up with most of the top local players on campus last Friday and Saturday -- you need to understand the back story, that Easterwood coaches the best Class of 2011 and 2012 prospects in the area. You also need to know that his team is funded by Nike. And that Memphis is a "Nike" school. And that Tennessee is an "Adidas" school. And that both schools held Elite Camps this past weekend.

OK, you got all that?


Now I'll let Easterwood tell the story.

"I polled my kids after a game," Easterwood said. "I asked 12 kids: 'Do you want to go to the Memphis Elite Camp or the Tennessee Elite Camp?' ... And all of them, to a man, said they wanted to go to Knoxville. Well, that was good for me. So we did what we had to do to get prepared to get them up there, talked to parents, one thing and another."

And then ...

"I got some calls, some were shoe-affiliated," Easterwood said. "Nike, Adidas, you can connect the dots. ... Memphis is Nike. I'm with a Nike AAU program. And it was expressed to me that it would be in my best interests to stay home and not make the trip to Knoxville, which is what we ultimately did."

Easterwood declined to name the person who called him, but promised it was a "person of influence" with Nike ties. He said he was also told that one of his players, Andre Hollins, might not get an invitation to this week's prestigious Nike Hoop Jamboree in St. Louis if he attended UT's Elite Camp instead of Memphis' Elite Camp.

"The kids didn't know the behind-the-scenes stuff," Easterwood said. "But I had to let [Hollins'] parents know what was at stake if they made that trip."

Once Easterwood told them, they didn't make that trip.

And Hollins' invitation to the Nike Hoop Jamboree subsequently arrived, as expected.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: June 8, 2009 7:25 pm

Explain to me how...

Someone please explain to me how a sneaker Company got to be so powerful.
These guys that pull the "mafia" type moves should be banned.
Sonny Vicaro and people like him ruined HS basketball forever.
And that is not even going into how Catholic schools have also ruined HS hoops.  These Catholic schools should not be allowed to "recruit" the way they do.

Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2009 6:33 pm

Sometimes it hurts to not be affiliated with Nike

most of the kids wanted to go to knoxville because its a trip out of town. Its fun going out of town. They allready live in Memphis, so the main attraction is taking a trip.

halo27legend -- Right, the guys were so excited to check out the Sunsphere.  They would've been totally bummed once they found out it was full of wigs!

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: June 8, 2009 6:01 pm

Sometimes it hurts to not be affiliated with Nike

Nike should just changed their logo to "Just Do it - Nike's way"!!!!!! because $$$ talks.... how sad that for kids no longer control thier destiny because the shoe makers "Just Do it their way" 

Since: May 1, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2009 5:46 pm

Sometimes it hurts to not be affiliated with Nike

Money talks!  They listen to who is writing the check.  It's a business like anything else.  Do you think the NCAA would step in on Nike or any other big shoe/apparel company?  Yeah right, they are a business like any other to.  Just think if Hollins pans out, he will be getting a nice endorsement down the road.  There are a lot of things that are made by the kids in other countries...your telling me you don't buy those things?  What athlete will step up and face these people who give them millions?  It's like me telling my boss to keep my bonus, because I don't agree with his business ethics and how he conducts business.  Who cares it goes on everywhere.

Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2009 5:39 pm


most of the kids wanted to go to knoxville because its a trip out of town. Its fun going out of town. They allready live in Memphis, so the main attraction is taking a trip.

Since: Mar 29, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2009 5:32 pm

Sometimes it hurts to not be affiliated with Nike

Newsflash, it's not just Nike doing this. Reebok and Adidas both do it, but Adidas and Nike to a greater extent because they are much more active on the HS/College scene.

Is it bad? Yes, but you can't bite the hand that feeds you. Nike funds that team to travel and the team has to respect that they just can't do whatever they want. Nike isn't going to pay for your travel, lodging, food, etc. and then have you go support an Adidas camp instead of their own.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: June 8, 2009 5:28 pm

Sometimes it hurts to not be affiliated with Nike

I think that Nike has cleaned up a lot of what they do... not that I'm pro-Nike in any way. I think one of the craziest things about the Nike labor practices is just how badly the citizens of those countries have it. The jobs that we all consider inhumane and unfair are the DREAM job for a lot of those people. There just isn't a better way to make money in some places. 18 hours/day? We find that abusive. They're eyes are lighting up because they can make $1 and actually get work for 3/4 of the day. In rural China, a beer is $.25! imagine that... 
But back to basketball, this just shows how much power corporations have. They are the evolution of man and nobody realizes it yet... and we all thought we'd evolve into robots. 
LeBron has been a corporate product since probably 8th grade, nothing against LeBron. I hate that the sponsorship of the AAU teams is good for the players so that they can get free clothes, more exposure, etc. but then the corporation uses they're mini-investment in the player to make money for universities, shoes sales, etc. good play on their part, but that's kind of what's wrong with America. 
College programs shouldn't be Adidas or Nike... I don't want those companies deciding which players will go to which schools, that's what ADs and coaches are for. 

Since: Apr 22, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2009 5:26 pm

Sometimes it hurts to not be affiliated with Nike

I used to be an idealistic person like J James. but after 50 years I've come to this conclusion;

A: NBA Players generally don't care where the money comes from, most have been raised in poverty or near poverty leading to a desire to be as far away from that live style as possible ( and after some thought, I can't blame them.)

B: Simple economics are in play, people in China need jobs. and are willing to work for the wages paid. If everyone were to quit, they would hire more or move the factory to Vietnam. I buy Wal*Mart because that's what I view as a reasonable price for a shoe. (Probably manufatured in China or somewhere in Asia). There's a reason why most companies have moved their manufacturing overseas.(U.S. labor cost and labor laws, as well as workplace regulations all add cost to the product.) If they don't they won't be competetive with the companies that did. Doesn't mean I like it, but that's the way it works.

C: As bad as the labor situation is in China, nothing can compare to the horror of slavery in the south or the ugly head of Jim Crow.

JJ keep fighting the good fight, but the American consumer cast the ultimate vote with their pocketbook, and thats a shame.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: June 8, 2009 5:24 pm

Sometimes it hurts to not be affiliated with Nike

This is the problem with AAU now.  It seems more important and plays a bigger role than the high school season.  How someone does during the summmer season is all that really matters.  High School sports is becoming secondary in many sports(all but football???).

Since: Aug 28, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2009 5:17 pm

How is this allowable?

Is this legal?  Isn't there some regulatory body who should oversee this?  NCAA?  TSSAA? 

These are young men just trying to improve their skills and some are trying to figure out if they are good enough to play major college ball.  I am sure Memphis held a good camp as they have a great basketball tradition, but it is scary to think that the shoe companies have this much control over the future of these teenagers.  Even worse, now the kids have to say things like "I just changed my mind" to the media.  Pretty sad.

Thank you to Keith Easterwood for going on the record to point out this type of blatant misuse of power.  Now I just hope someone steps in and does something about it.

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