It seems that the more I write about basketball the less I seem to care about the sport. I have never been a huge basketball fan, even when I played it growing up. I have had a few select players that I have followed over the years like Shaquille O’Neal, Shawn Kemp, and Kobe Bryant, but I never get past what the front page of Yahoo! Sports has to tell me. I am not even sure that I can tell you what team Shaq is playing for these days. But over the last few months there have been stories coming up revolving around basketball that I just have felt responsible to give my feedback on. That is the case we have here today.
Michael Jordan is arguably the single best basketball player to ever play the game. Sure, guys like Kobe and LeBron James will give him a run for his money before their careers are over, but as it currently stands Jordan is one of the best that has ever hit the hardwood. He played at North Carolina (after being cut his freshman year) and went on to lead the Chicago Bulls to a handful of championship rings before he retired. He came back, played a few more years, and eventually gave it up to get into other business ventures inside the NBA. He is actually a partner in the ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats and is also a chief adviser on basketball operations. This means he has a direct influence over things like draft decisions and the team’s coaching staff.
Michael is also a father. His son, Marcus Jordan, is a player himself. He plays for the University of Central Florida. He is a freshman this year, having just started his career as a college basketball player, and is their starting shooting guard. He comes in at six foot three inches (that is three inches shorter than his dad) and will be graduating in the year 2013 assuming he does not decide to go pro before he gets a diploma. Marcus is only starting his career and is already creating headlines in the news.
The University of Central Florida has a contract with the major sporting goods manufacturer Adidas. Under this contract the teams at UCF wear all Adidas apparel and must show the Adidas logo any chance they get on their shirts, shorts, and shoes. Marcus knew this going in and was completely fine with these rules. He was until now.
Now that the season has started he has raised some eye brows on the shoes that he is being forced to wear. The contract says that he must wear Adidas tennis shoes. That becomes a problem, as Marcus wants to wear his dad’s logo on his feet. This becomes an issue as Michael Jordan has a contract with Nike who is one of Adidas’s largest competitors. He has been told no numerous times but has raised a valid point that I am curious to see how the university will handle.
Marcus is upset, as he wants to wear these shoes to support his father and the career that he had in both college and the NBA. Marcus claims that family pride is the reason why he wants to wear these specific sneakers. But the university is telling him no. That was until Marcus brought up a valid point about a University of Central Florida football player who was allowed to wear different shoes based on the way that Adidas shoes fit his foot. Marcus claims that this football player was complaining of sore feet while wearing the Adidas shoes, and although the university has this outstanding contract, he was allowed to change shoes into more comfortable cleats.
The school and Marcus have not yet come to an agreement, but it seems that a decision is in the works. Adidas is speaking up about this but they are doing so very carefully. They have claimed that they are in negotiations with the university and a major contributing factor to their decision on whether to stay with the UCF will be based on “agreed deliverables for both parties”.
The university has to be careful here as they could potentially lose the contract if they allow Marcus to wear Nike shoes. On the surface this might seem like a battle between Nike and Adidas but it really just is a matter of breaching the contract. If it were up to me, as the UCF I would not allow Marcus to wear his father’s shoes while on the court. Adidas will not stand for it, and very well may pull their contract if he does. I would hope Marcus, having known the team wears only Adidas apparel, would understand and not turn this into something more than it truly is. I would think his father would have enough say in his life to make the right decision for him if Marcus tries to wander. I feel that he is too young, and too fresh into the start of his career to already be causing problems. Let’s hope he sees the light at the end of the tunnel and laces up some Adidas sneakers come game day.