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"60 MINUTES'" LESLEY STAHL STUDIES NIKE/ADIDAS' STUDENT PLAN
Published October 27, 1997
CBS' "60 Minutes" profiled Nike and adidas' involvement with high school basketball players in "There's No Business Like Shoe Business." CBS' Lesley Stahl: "Nobody, not the Bulls, the Lakers or the Knicks, is more interested in finding the next Michael Jordan than Nike. ... So Nike, and its competitors like adidas, are searching the country. Searching for the hot NBA rookies, putting their shoes on the best college seniors. But what amazed us, is that they're also going after basketball babies." adidas' Sonny Vaccaro said that shoe companies start recruiting players when they're "eight, nine, ten, eleven-year-olds." Vaccaro, on what adidas gets out of finding a promising ten-year-old basketball player: "What you do, is you bring this person along, and hopefully he stays in the family." Stahl: "And then all the kids in the country will wear adidas?" Vaccaro: "That would be very nice." Stahl: "Nike and adidas have turned the summertime into a huge basketball bazaar, spending millions of dollars to corral every kid with a decent jump shot, betting that one or two of them will develop into superstars -- and human billboards." High school basketball talent scout Bob Gibbons, on the shoe wars over high school students and the high school summer camps: "It's way out of control, and I don't know how you get it back in control" ("60 Minutes," CBS, 10/26). NIKE'S TAKE: Stahl asked Nike Dir of Global Basketball Ralph Greene on its mission in supporting youngsters: "It's important for us to provide wonderful opportunities for kids who play great basketball. ... It's a very simple formula for us. And it really does start with performing, and being passionate about the game first, and the athletes first." Stahl, in response to Reed: "Selling shoes first." Reed: "No, no, no, no, no. It's the game first, then the passion for the game and understanding what athletes want." Gibbons, asked about Reed's "passionate about the game" statement: "I don't see them giving their product away to schools that do not have good players ... they love the schools that have the top players the best" (CBS, 10/26).