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  • ESPN EXAMINES NIKE'S PRESENCE IN HIGH SCHOOL HOOPS

         In last night's ESPN "Cover Story," Armen Keteyian reported
    on the hot, young "futures market" of high school basketball
    players and the "people who drive this bull market."  The biggest
    "trading floors" for high school players are All-Star Camps where
    sports agents, college coaches, scouts and even shoe companies
    "all compete with (high school) coaches for influence and control
    over the can't miss kids."  Barry Temkin, CHICAGO TRIBUNE's high
    school basketball writer: "Everybody is trying to latch on to the
    next hot star early, and become his friend.  It will enrich them
    in a number of ways later."
         NIKE INVOLVEMENT?  Kevin Garnett, the No. 1 rated big man in
    the country, left school in SC to play his senior year at
    Farragut High School in Chicago.  According to Temkin, the
    interstate transfer is "a whole different phenomenon, kids coming
    from so far away, and that is where the connection comes in to
    Nike events."  Nike held its annual High School All-Star event
    just outside of Chicago, where they flew in Garnett and more than
    100 other stars, in an all-expenses paid trip complete with free
    Nike shoes, shirts, and other apparel.  It was at the camp where
    Garnett met other Farragut players and coaches.  Garnett's
    mother, Shirley Irby, admitted to flying to Chicago to scout high
    schools at Nike's expense.  Irby:  "It doesn't bother me at all."
    Garnett was not "the only 'can't miss kid' that failed to come
    home from the Nike festival this summer."  The top rated small
    forward in the nation, Ron Mercer, along with "two other stars,"
    switched to play for their Nike Camp coach.  Frank Dubois,
    Athletic Dir of Nike Camps:  "It bothered me that they did make
    the move ... and they moved to a program who was involved in the
    Nike program."  At Nike's HQ in Portland, OR, Keteyian posed the
    question of Nike's "move into the sports agent business," and the
    "need to find and sign, the next pop icon."  Nike Sports
    Management President Terdema Ussery:  "I don't think it can
    necessarily translate that a kid who is going to be wearing Nike
    shoes in high school and college is going to be a Nike Sports
    Management client."  Keteyian called those "hollow words to high
    school educators and coaches who feel the future of their sport
    is out of their hands, and into an honer system with precious
    little honor and no national controls" ("SportsCenter," ESPN,
    2/21).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Nike, Sports in Society, Walt Disney
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