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The Hoop Doctors

Brandon Jennings Says Nike was Reason He Didn’t Get Invite to Play on Team USA

September 14, 2010 – Dr. Browntorious

Brandon Jennings is reppin’ Under Armour’s new basketball line. And at The Hoop Docs we’ve made it no secret we love the line, the kicks are niiice.

Jennings has been with Under Armour for more than two years. They showed him love before he even got to the NBA, when he made the controversial decision to head overseas instead of playing his one mandatory year of NCAA hoops. So it’s no surprise that Jennings has stayed loyal to UA and their long awaited kicks released this year.

But what if that loyalty cost him a spot on Team USA this summer to be part of the Gold Medal team at the FIBA World Championships? According to Yahoo!, Jennings himself seems to think so…

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.”

Of the 12 members of Team USA’s roster, only Chauncey Billups(notes), Derrick Rose(notes) and Eric Gordon wore shoes other than Nike. Evans tried out for Team USA, but was not selected after spraining his ankle in training camp. Curry played in eight of Team USA’s nine games in the world championships. {via}

I’m not in the practice of buying into conspiracy theories on the regular, but this may have a bit of validity to it. How could Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans get an invite with Curry playing a steady role, but Jennings doesn’t even make the invite list? I’m not saying that Nike came right out and said “If Jennings is on Team USA we are pulling our sponsorship”, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some executives at USA Basketball thought it wise to avoid sending the flashy guard an invite.

Before you jump to the conclusion that it is too far fetched for a shoe company to influence these sorts of decisions, think back to Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and other Nike athletes covering up the Reebok logo with a US Flag draped over their shoulder during the 1992 Olympic Medal Ceremony. My guess is that Nike pressured the athletes into doing so to avoid affiliation with another shoe brand. So is it that much of a stretch that Nike discouraged the invite of Brandon Jennings who is a vocal supporter of Under Armour?

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