Nike has played a huge role in the explosion of college basketball's popularity in the cable television era, supplying state-of-the-art apparel and working with institutions on ways to expand their individual brands. So when the call comes to play in an early season tournament dedicated to the career of Nike co-founder Phil Knight, you answer.
The PK80 is a 16-team tournament scheduled for Thanksgiving week (Nov. 23, Nov. 24 and Nov. 26) in Portland, Ore. for next year. Any of the teams attending this event would be a headliner at another holiday invitational, making the PK80 the top early season tournament for the 2017-18 basketball season.
Two eight-team tournaments will be held at the same time for the celebration of Phil Knight's 80th birthday as Nike basketball takes over the Rose Quarter's Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Though the draw has not been set yet, the teams involved include:
"We've been fortunate to play in some incredible preseason events, but we've never been a part of something this amazing - both in terms of quantity and quality of the teams," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "This is sure to be an incredible experience for all the student-athletes. It's only fitting to pay tribute to a one-of-a-kind man with a one-of-a-kind event. Phil Knight has revolutionized modern day fitness, while setting the gold standard for shoes and apparel, not just in basketball, but across all other sports and activities as well."
This event was first reported in 2012, including the note that the two-bracket format is in place not only to expand the field but allow for teams from the same conference to play in PK80 without having to face each other. Knight's 80th birthday is on Feb. 24, 2018.