One of the NBA’s budding new on-court fashion trends appears to be no more.
In a series of tweets this past weekend, Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott hinted that players were now banned from wearing the ninja-style headbands that catapulted onto the scene last season. The veteran said that objectors should “start a petition” and “send it to Nike,” also tweeting that the headbands were deemed to be “too unprofessional.”
It’s ova wit https://t.co/4pW2W6jqBP
— Mike Scott (@mikescott) September 6, 2019
Start a petition lol send it to Nike. Cuz it’s definitely ova wit lol https://t.co/TqNvHby6mi
— Mike Scott (@mikescott) September 6, 2019
Scott, who was also in the news for less-than-ideal reasons this weekend, was one of several NBA players who started sporting the look last season. Other ninja-style headband enthusiasts included the LA Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday, the Sacramento Kings’ DeAaron Fox, and numerous others.
Larry Brown Sports reached out to both Nike and the NBA about Scott’s assertion but has not received a response.
The demise of the ninja headband would be a disappointment to many, as they were arguably more visually pleasing than the classic headband look and also allowed players to inject some extra personality into their on-court look. In any case though, this brings to mind the ban that the NBA had previously implemented on upside-down headbands nearly a decade ago.
- Filed Under:
Nike has shown LeBron James some serious love.
Nike announced on Thursday that they have named a new building at its World Headquarters (WHQ) after LeBron. The LeBron building is the sixth building that was added to Nike’s WHQ as part of an expansion project that began in 2015.
The LeBron James Building will be home to Nike’s Sport Research Lab. The building will include a full NBA-size basketball court, 200-meter endurance track, 100-meter straightaway, and an artificial turf training pitch.
“It’s so surreal,” James said in a statement. “It’s been an honor to be a part of such a great company for the last 18 years. And to know that a building with my name will reside on campus — it’s truly an honor, and I feel truly special.”
James has been signed to Nike since 2003. He has a lifetime deal with the brand that is rumored to be worth $1 billion.
Attorney Michael Avenatti is once again accusing Nike executives of improper conduct, including approving illegal payments to Zion Williamson and other players.
Avenatti was arrested on March 25 and charged by federal prosecutors for attempting to extort Nike. Avenatti allegedly was threatening to hold a press conference in which he would unveil improper activities between Nike and high school/college programs unless they paid him $25 million.
Avenatti hired legal representation for the extortion case and is seeking to have the charges dismissed on grounds of vindictive and selective prosecution. His attorneys filed a motion in U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday that included numerous allegations, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.
According to the motion, Avenatti has evidence Nike executives approved cash payments to be made to handlers and family members of amateur players. The payments are often made in an effort to steer an amateur player to a college program sponsored by the shoe company. Adidas was at the center of a college basketball scandal over the past two years for this issue. Avenatti says Nike has engaged in similar practices.
Avenatti claims to have evidence showing a Nike employee was willing to make a $35,000 payment to Zion Williamson, $20,000 for Romeo Langford, and $15,000 for another player. Williamson played his freshman season at Duke, which is a Nike-sponsored school, while Langford went to Indiana, an Adidas school.
Avenatti claims to have gained the evidence and information through former amateur coach Gary Franklin. Franklin coached the California Supreme, a Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) team. Franklin alleges Nike tried to funnel payments through him intended for the handlers and/or family of several players on his teams, such as Deandre Ayton. Franklin retained Avenatti’s services after claiming to have been forced out by Nike once he no longer felt comfortable going along with their scheme.
In April, Avenatti also accused Nike of making payments to the mother of Williamson, who ended up going No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft.
A malfunction with a pair of sneakers made by Nike may have cost Zion Williamson some time during the college basketball season earlier this year, but it sounds like it actually turned out to be a good thing for the former Duke star.
Williamson announced on Tuesday that he has signed an endorsement deal with Jordan Brand, which is of course owned by Nike. While the terms of the deal were not initially known, Darren Rovell of The Action Network reports that Williamson blowing out his shoe on national TV “made the stakes of landing Zion that much greater.” Rovell estimates that Williamson made millions more on his endorsement deal because the embarrassing sneaker malfunction made Nike that much more desperate to sign him.
Williamson suffered what initially looked like a serious injury in Duke’s game against rival North Carolina back in March when his shoe literally fell apart during play. It was a public relations nightmare for Nike, which sponsors Duke and produces their athletic gear.
As many as seven shoe companies expressed interest in signing Williamson before he was drafted No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans, and some wondered if the blown out shoe would impact his decision. He fueled that buzz when he was spotted wearing a different brand a few months back, but in the end it sounds like the deal worked out for everyone.
The legal battle between Kawhi Leonard and Nike over the reigning NBA Finals MVP’s logo continues.
Leonard filed a lawsuit against Nike in June in which he claimed Nike copyrighted his Klaw logo without his consent. On Wednesday, Nike filed a countersuit in Southern California in which they stated their designers created the logo based on a concept provided by Leonard. They even provided a photo of the rough draft of Leonard’s logo compared to their design.
Nike is seeking a judgement that would declare them the owner of the logo, an injunction preventing Leonard from using the logo, plus damages and attorney fees.
In its suit, Nike even cited comments from Leonard in a Nice Kicks article that originally was published on Oct. 29, 2014.
“I give the Jordan Brand team all the credit because I’m no artist at all,” said Leonard. “They refined it and made it look better than I thought it would ever be, and I’m extremely happy with the final version.”
Leonard endorsed Nike from 2011-2018 and signed a contract acknowledging Nike as the copyright owner of the logo. Leonard left Nike and signed with New Balance in November. He would like to be able to use the logo with his new company.
Nike is seeking to have the case moved to Oregon, which is where the company is headquartered.
LeBron James will not be switching jersey numbers in the upcoming season as previously planned due to a lack of approval from Nike, according to reports.
James has worn jersey No. 23 in all his NBA seasons but his four-year stint with the Miami Heat, when he wore No. 6. No. 23 is what Anthony Davis has worn throughout his career. To welcome his new teammate to the Los Angeles Lakers, James was going to give Davis No. 23 and likely switch back to No. 6.
However, Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes reported on Friday that the jersey switch will not be happening. Haynes reported that the request came in after the March 15 deadline. The league would have allowed the switch if manufacturer Nike approved it, but they did not, citing a major financial loss they would have incurred.
According to ESPN, Nike stood to lose “well into the tens of millions of dollars” on the switch due to already-produced LeBron James No. 23 Lakers jerseys.
A player has the ability to buy out the jerseys as we’ve seen one do in the past, but James opted to keep his number out of respect to the fans who have already purchased his Lakers jersey and to avoid further controversy, Haynes reported.
Now we will wait to see what jersey number Davis picks.
Nike is adding contractual protection for female athletes who get pregnant after facing negative publicity for not doing so in the past.
On Sunday, The New York Times ran an opinion piece from Lindsay Crouse and video by 33-year-old distance runner Alysia Montaño that pointed out the lack of fairness and support from sponsors towards female athletes who get pregnant. Montaño says when she told Nike she was pregnant, they told her they were going to pause her contract. Crouse pointed out the hypocrisy from Nike, which has created advertising campaigns in which they claim to support and empower female athletes, encouraging them to dream big.
Nike apparently took note of the criticism and has enacted a change.
The Wall Street Journal’s Khadeeja Safdar reported on Friday that Nike has now added language to their contracts that will protect female athletes’ pay during pregnancy.
“We recognize we can do more and that there is an important opportunity for the sports industry to evolve to support female athletes,” the company said.
Nike says they adopted the policy last year but just started writing them into their contracts. Their previous contracts allowed them to pause contracts or reduce pay “for any reason.”
Previously, athletes were not able to speak about these issues due to non-disclosure agreements or fears of retribution. Nike goes to great distances to protect the brand and its athletes for fear of negative publicity, so their quick action and response is not surprising.